"I was born in Lima in 1969," says jeweler Marianela Vargas Balarezo. "I learned my art through private classes and workshops, but from the time I was a child I loved jewelry. I always felt a special need to make my own. I went through a period when my health was a problem and, while I recovered, I looked for something to pass the time. It seemed like a good idea to do something I liked while learning something new. One day when I was out for a walk, I noticed a place that offered classes in jewelry making. I never even thought about it. I signed up and I was hooked. That was in 2003 and today I am still creating new designs filled with life.<br><br>"I'd describe my work as expressive. I enjoy extroverted designs. It's a wonderful form of self expression and time just flies when I'm working. I like to use a variety of silver crafting techniques that show how beautiful it is.<br><br>"I love creating, combining and producing beautiful things. I couldn't stop now if I tried. My health was my greatest challenge but it led me into this world of art.<br><br>"I hope you appreciate my art and the dedication that goes into each piece. I hope our Peruvian art is noticed in every corner of the world."
In the Andes, the Land of the Four Corners, mountains are sacred. So is culture. The Nazca lines, the Wari glyphs, the Quipu knots and the complex multi-colored textiles of the Incas are all recorded and live on the work of contemporary Peruvian artisans.