"My greatest inspiration to develop each design comes from my wife and our young daughters. The creation of our jewelry is born of woman in her maximum expression…."
"The world is so large, yet so small at the same time. To coincide in a single moment, in an instant of life that would never have occurred to you. Not even in your most distant dream would you imagine you'd dedicate your lives together to the creation of wonderful jewelry….
"This is what happened in my life and that of my wife, Carmen. I'm Juan Luis Quispe. I was born in Juliaca in southern Peru. It's also known as the City of Wind and the Pearl of the Highland Plain. I grew up with my family in this beautiful city.
"Thanks to my parents' hard work, I was able to finish school but, even so, times were tough. The weather varied greatly and the winters were so cold. The future was uncertain and unpromising, and my parents were worried. Then things got even worse and we had to make a difficult choice. I couldn't keep living there so, shortly after my 18th birthday, I started my journey to the capital. I had only the clothes I was wearing and 300 soles in my pocket. That was the family's savings.
"I knew some people in Lima and had lined out a few part-time jobs to survive. I looked up my friends as soon as I arrived. I felt sad and lost away from home and far from my family but I knew I had to do something to make it in life. So I worked in a thousand temporary jobs and worked in stores and workshops by the hour, as a messenger boy, in whatever I could to make a few coins for my daily expenses.
"This is how I came to a jewelry workshop very close to where I lived. They worked in metal and hired me for a while. In fact, I imagined it was only for the season and that this was just another temporary job. This was the first time I was in contact with silver and my only task was to polish the finished jewelry or help the craftspeople put the pieces together.
"But I was very curious and silverwork attracted me. When I'd have a piece of jewelry in my hands, I felt amazed. I began to wonder day and night if I could create something like that. Finally, I said, 'I want to learn to work in silver and specialize in jewelry crafting.' I convinced myself that, if I enjoyed an activity so much, I should learn as much as I could. I decided that jewelry would become my life. So I got going.
"Little by little, I began involving myself in the process. Now I not only polished a piece of jewelry. I assembled it, sanded it and polished it. But I felt like there was never enough time and I had to finish my shift. I wanted to stay late to be able to practice. At work, I paid close attention to everything that was being done. If someone was needed to work overtime, I volunteered to be able to use the tools there.
"The owner never let me set gemstones and would never teach me the entire process, but my curiosity and willingness won in the end. When I'd stay for overtime in the workshop, I'd practice with scraps of leftover metal. I learned to melt the metal, to solder, to create silver strands.
"I couldn't believe I was becoming a jeweler. But there were people with bad intentions and the workshop also faced some hard times when they had to lay off part-time help. They let a lot of people go and I was one of them.
"I took with me a great experience and made some good friends there. Without a doubt, this stage of my life left its mark on me and I realized I wanted to spend my life creating art with silver.
"Clearly, I faced an adverse situation but I continued working to save up for some used tools. With great faith and effort, I went on with my life hoping to have my own workshop in the near future.
"Today I create jewelry with my wife, Carmen Granados."
"I'm from Peru's Amazon region," Carmen says. "There, I studied for a technical career in nursing while working in the community hospital, helping those whose needs were the greatest.
"One of the most important moments in my life was when I became a mother. I now focused all my time on my work and in caring for my little daughter. Thank God, my family stood behind me and my brothers took care of the baby when I needed it most.
"When I was 28, the government cut back on personnel and I was out of job in the only place where I could work as a nurse and support my family. It was a hard blow. With a baby to raise, I had to move to the capital to seek a better future for her.
"When I arrived in Lima, I went to work right away in a nursing home for the elderly. I was there for about a year. I left due to differences with the personnel. The way of working there conflicted with my principles so I felt I had no choice but to leave.
"I had to find a new job, as my daughter was very young and didn't want her to lack the things she needed. I found a company that did embroidery and I could take the work home with me. It was great because I could take care of my little girl while earning an income. I did this for several years until there were changes in management and, once again, I was out of work.
"One of the friends I'd made there suggested I work in a jewelry workshop that needed personnel to polish the silver. I told her I had never done anything like that in my life but she insisted. I told myself I didn't care if they paid me for the days I worked and, moreover, they'd teach me. I didn't think too much about it because I had to work for my daughter, and I accepted the job.
"There, I met Luis. He was my teacher, my guide. He taught me the true value of working with jewelry. In fact, he was very patient with me but his passion for silverwork led me to fall in love with him.
"This was the beginning of our story together. From then on, we were never apart. That was in 2005. We've formed a home and work without ceasing to build all that we own and to have our own workshop.
"We're both very enterprising, cheerful and positive in the face of adversities. For us, there's always a reason to continue on with the struggle. We've been warriors since we were born.
"Our plans, hope and dreams for the future are to see our children grow and receive a university education. We want our art to be recognized in the world of jewelry based on our style, quality and the great passion we want to share with the world.
"What we enjoy most is designing and the entire creative process, transforming a metal as beautiful as silver into jewelry that enhances the beauty of the woman who wears it. Seeing a finished design makes us happy. It's a reflection of our teamwork and our love for our art."