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Artisan Stories: Jewellery Makers, Peru

Jewellery Makers, Peru


Hope Jewellery is a fair trade jewellery project that has been running in partnership with Just Trade since 2006. The project has flourished and now runs workshops in four areas of Peru: two in shanty towns in Lima and two in provincial cities. Today, Hope Jewellery provides regular work for more than thirty women... and one man!

Lima's sprawling shanty areas are nicknamed 'pueblos jóvenes', meaning 'young towns'. Despite their name, they sprung up in the 1940s when indigenous groups migrated in huge waves from the countryside in search of employment. The 1980s saw another influx of people fleeing terrorism. Most people live in makeshift shacks without running water.

Brass


This warm metal is an alloy of copper and zinc. It has been prized by craftspeople for centuries for its golden colour and workability. Brass is ideal for jewellery because it's lightweight and free from irritants including nickel, lead and cadmium. The shine can be quickly restored with a dab of Brasso and a soft polishing cloth.

How is it made?


Our Peruvian jewellery has been created to combine contemporary design with traditional jewellery-making techniques. The jewellery starts life as brass sheets which are cut, filed, shaped and polished by hand. Design collaboration is a central part of the project's philosophy, giving artisans the opportunity to develop their creative talents as well as their technical skills.

How your purchase improves lives


Employment opportunities are limited for women living in the sprawling shanty towns of Lima. Their options are either working as a housekeeper in the wealthy part of town or in a textile factory, both of which involve lengthy travel, long hours and childcare difficulties. Hope Jewellery provides part-time, fairly-paid work the women can do from home, or close to home, improving their household income and family life.

"At 59 years old I have learned to make jewellery. I never thought I would do this! Now I work I contribute to my household. I feel important" Naty

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Image credits: Just Trade, Mariano Mantel