Before I began to work as a jeweler, I was hired as a translator for a group of Canadian filmmakers who wanted to document the ravages caused by current mining practices in Mexico.
The film crew and I visited a large Canadian-run mine in a colonial town called Cerro de San Pedro, in the state of San Luis Potosí. The San Pedro mountain was originally a sacred site for the local indigenous population, but it was transformed into a mining town when the Spaniards discovered gold and silver in the16th century. For the next 100 years, the metal ore was extracted from underground tunnels using handheld mining tools.
Today, the fine metal ore in the underground mines is scarce, and can only be extracted using a modern system called “open pit mining.” This method uses thousands of gallons of water mixed with cyanide to extract metal from huge mountains of previously crushed underground rock, a practice that is highly toxic for the environment.
When I returned from the visit, I had already decided to become a silversmith, so I knew I had to find a way to do it without further harming the planet. I eventually found a local source that supplied sterling silver recycled from x-rays and photographic processes. This is the silver that I use to make my jewelry.