Inca gold and more
Peru is home to many creative artists who make unique and exquisite jewelry. Neighborhoods like San Blas in Cusco and Barranco in Lima are full of workshops and jewelers who sell directly to clients. Peruvian artists like Marisol Martell Méndez create unusual items like crocheted silver and copper (below).
There are also several well-known national chains of fine jewelry. One is Inka’s Treasure (both photos below) and another is Ilaria. Independent artisans and stores like the two above frequently make custom orders.
There are several Inca designs and motifs that you’ll see frequently. One is the tumi (below) and another is the chakana. The tumi was a ceremonial knife, with the bottom rounded bit being the blade. The chakana is also called the Andean cross, though the three layers represent three levels of existence and have nothing to do with a crucifix.
Gold and silver are still mined in Peru and quality jewelry shops can tell you where they buy their metals. Another important material in Peru is the shell of the spondylus. This is the shell of a mollusk that was prized by the Inca. The highest quality spondylus are red (below) though they also come in orange and purple.