The Metropolitan Museum of Art Store works with artists and craftspeople around the world to offer exquisite products that reflect our collection of 5,000 years of art. Today, we give you a behind-the-scenes peek into the making of some of our favorite jewelry, handmade in the Abasto neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Master jeweler Fernanda Sibilia and her team of seven highly skilled artisans have been working together for the past twenty years to create handmade jewelry using traditional metalsmithing and jewelry techniques inspired by the local art, markets, and culture of Buenos Aires.
We spoke with Ms. Sibilia to hear a bit more about her practices. “My design process doesn’t start with a sketch,” she says. “I simply touch the metal, explore it, and start to work with it. I am constantly researching and employing novel metalsmithing and jewelry-making techniques. I manipulate bronze, copper, and alpaca (a silver-colored alloy) to create a rainbow of bold new colors and combinations.” Throughout her work, you can see these techniques employed to create unique colors and texture within the metal that make every piece one of a kind.
Ms. Sibilia notes, “the Pre-Columbian Galleries were inspiring.” Looking at her designs, like the Crescent Chain Necklace, our Two-Tone Bib Necklace or our Patina Circle Pin, you will note similarity to precious objects in our collection, which features jewelry of similar shapes as well as heavily patinated copper sculpture and jewelry typical of the period. This melding of ancient inspiration and techniques with modern designs makes our Sibilia jewelry a treasure to behold.
See below for a video created by Sibilia detailing their process and inspiration.