The Lady of the Rocks

The work of this Peruvian jeweller is being exhibited at the British Museum, as well as at other very prestigious cultural British institutions. Her jewellery pieces made of semi-precious stones frequently appear in fashion magazines and are worn by British television personalities.

From October 17th, Peruvian jewellery designer Maria Helena Spector is presenting her new collection at none other than the British Museum.

Her paternal surname, Spector, is of Russian origin, but Maria Helena is Peruvian on all four sides. Thirteen years ago, she moved to London where she has become known for the jewellery she designs. Since 2008, after starting up her own business, she has participated in exhibitions in museums, galleries, and jewellery fairs, and belongs to organizations and guilds of the trade, while amongst her regular clients are personalities from British television and even some Members of Parliament.

Maria Helena studied Art and Sculpture at the Catholic University of Lima and initially dedicated herself to painting. Despite this, she always had another latent passion, jewellery. “ I have been making jewellery for 25 years. At the beginning, it wasn’t in a professional way but when I moved to London, people showed interest in my work and started asking how I did it and where my pieces came from. So one day, I took them to the Gill Wing Jewellery shop”, says the artist. Gill Wing, by the way, is not just any shop. It’s located in one of the most exclusive commercial areas of Islington, a neighbourhood, north east of central London, characterised by its designer boutiques.

Later, she managed to exhibit her jewellery in some of the galleries in St John’s Wood, another influential area in the English capital, until in 2009, only a year after starting her company, the Tate Modern and Tate Britain, one of the artistic institutions most recognized in Great Britain, invited her to design pieces for their retail areas. Months later, the Tate Modern asked her to create a line of necklaces to accompany an exhibition dedicated to the French painter Paul Gauguin.

Maria Helena is convinced that the pieces she designs stand out for having a unique style recognizable from all others. “I have two different collections, one is of jewellery in a more modern style and the other is more classic. I have developed a style that people recognize, and when someone sees my work, they know it is mine”, she explains. She also tells us, with great doses of humility, that her work has appeared on the front cover of magazines like Time Out and she has been interviewed in publications with the importance of Tatler, and in programmes by the BBC.

Amongst the materials she uses are Pink Sillar Lava, Andean Opal, Peruvian Quartz, Nephrite (which is a type of Peruvian jade), Pyrites and Petrified Algae, which according to her, is the oldest fossil in the world.

From the 17th of October, the jewellery designed by Maria Helena Spector will be available for sale as part of Beyond Eldorado, a great exhibition organized by the British Museum around the subject of gold in Colombia. “This will be the event of the year in London and with it will be inaugurated a new wing of the museum and I think that even the Queen will attend”, she says smiling.

The collection is inspired by the myth of El Dorado, the search for a lost city of gold, represented by totemic gold figures and shapes and for this the artist has designed around 20 jewellery pieces which will be on sale in the museum shop.

The work of this talented jeweller is influenced by her trips to Mexico, Paris and by the beautiful pre-columbian art of South America.

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