Juan García Hernández y Hernan Torrez García, Simojvel de Allende, Chiapas

Juan García Hernández y Hernan Torrez García, Simojvel de Allende, Chiapas

Juan García Hernández was born in 1973, is married and has five children. He is the first generation in his family to work in amber goldsmithing. With no formal instruction in jewelry making, he was instructed by a friend on how to work with the precious amber.

Juan is part of a group of 8 men in Simojovel, Chiapas. All the amber workers are part of groups of 8-10 people and belong to one of the four associations in Simojovel that controls all the amber in Chiapas.

Juan has never entered into a court-ordered contest for economic reasons. All work is done by hand by the men in the group - these artisans transform raw materials into products. They do not sell other people's work.

Hernan Torrez Garcia is the president of the most important association of amber workers in Simojovel, Consejor Regulador del Ámbar de Chiapas. He is working on certification of the workers, as well as a type of certification of amber origin. His wife, Maria Antoineta Dominguez Hernandez works alongside Hernan to produce his jewelry from the magical amber. One of their specialties is making small bracelets for babies to protect them from the bad things in life.

Hernan is a first generation amber maker. As a child, he would go to the amber mines to collect small stones and play with them. Over the last 15 years, his love for amber grew, he studied and became a real amber maker. He has never entered a Competition but is planning in 2014. Contests (judged art shows) are one of the ways an artist can achieve fame, especially if his work wins a prize. Everything the men use in making their jewelry is handmade - they do not buy ready-made clasps, etc.

Chiapas is the only producer of amber in Mexico. Amber products are made and offered as a tribute to pre-Hispanic times. Artisan's hands rummage the bowels of the earth near Simojovel to find amber - fossil resin dating back up to 40 million years.

Whether polished and formed into the shape of a heart, bird or tree, amber from Chiapas carries with it the geological history of the earth. This resin after polishing will become a beautiful jewel, unique in its shape, color and content. Its market value is priced according to the size, color or number of insects and plant remains that are inside. Some jewelry has the classic shade of amber, yellow, but other pieces stand out for their reds, greens and blues, which when combined with gold or silver, resulting in exquisite works of art.

Centuries after the flourishing and decline of the Olmec, Maya and Zoque empires, the natives were forced to take refuge in the inaccessible corners of Chiapas, in an attempt to keep their customs and lifestyles intact. Today in Chiapas are present extraordinary groups of those peoples - heirs to their customs, beliefs and traditions of long ago civilizations. That their traditions remain alive is reflected in the continuation of the unique handicrafts passed down by their ancestors. Encouraging these traditions and seeking outlets where their art can be sold is the way to ensure the well-being of indigenous families.

Among the wide range of handicrafts that exist in Mexico, the state of Chiapas occupies an important place in the rich diversity of traditional and ethnic groups that compose it. The roots of the indigenous peoples go back to their ancestors Mayan and Zoque, creating a wonderful mosaic of art that expresses the feelings of a people so deeply rooted in their traditions.

The artisans of Chiapas, in an effort to keep their traditions alive and improve their living conditions, offer their art to the world through products that represent centuries of history, knowledge, and customs.

Juan García Hernández

Ave. Independencia Pte.

Nueva Primavera

Simojvel de Allende, Chiapas

919 111 4323 (cell)

Hernan Torrez García

Av Constitution Pte # 7

Barrio San Caralampio II

Simojovel de Alende, Chiapas

919 112 2448 (cell)