Silver is made into art at Mompox, a road trip of 740km

  • We are starting our trip, it is 4:00 AM, and we are in Bogota. We are going to the beautiful town of Mompox, 740 km away. Mompox, besides being the town in Colombia where most of the artisans specialized in filigree jewelry live, it is also considered patrimony of humankind by Unesco.  It will take us at least 14 hours to get there, to the paradise where silver and gold are converted into art.
    On the way there, we pass by towns like La Vega, Villeta, Guaduas, and then we will take the highway that communicates the center with the north of Colombia: “Ruta del sol” (Route to the sun), we pass by multiple provinces before reaching Bolivar, the province where Mompox is located. In our route, we cross the majestic Magdalena river in a recently built bridge, not so long ago the only way to get to cross the Magdalena was taking the ferry. We haven’t booked a hotel so we are looking for tidy place where to spend the night. We find a small, very basic hotel, there is no luxury here, but it is enough, clean and fresh. After the long trip, we are tired, but decide to go for a little stroll in the town.
    There it is, the famous Santo Domingo square, and the Santo Domingo church.

Santo Doming Church, Mompox, Colombia

Very close to the square we find a restaurant just along the river, we decide to eat here, and we order a typical dish, with two cold beers. This paradise is warm, calm and hectic, and mosquitoes are also out for dinner, time to head back to the hotel, tomorrow we will see more of the town, and will meet the artisans.

Magdalena river bank, Mompox

 The warmth wakes us up very early in the morning, although tired from the trip we decide to make the best use of time, and we get ready to explore the town. On the way to meet Doris, the artisan who has agreed to meet us, we see many workshops, artisans already working; making silver threads that will be the basis for the filigree. We stop at a couple of workshops, they greet us and invite us to get inside, amazingly although the air feels very warm outside, inside the workshop is very fresh. A senior man takes the lead, and starts chatting with us, and explaining the technique, we haven’t said that we are looking for jewelry in filigree, but he starts like a professional story teller, although fascinated with the story we realize we have to hurry up, otherwise we will be late to meet Doris, and we still don’t know where exactly we have to go.
Here we are, at Doris’ workshop. We didn’t meet before, but we have already spoken on the phone several times, Doris comes to say hello, like if we were family, we love this openness, we feel welcome right away. After a cold lemonade, Doris starts telling us her story. She is the owner of the workshop, and this workshop has belonged to her family already for several generations, she personally makes every design that is manufactured there, the process is very simple, we start with the silver or gold, the precious metal is melted, and long threads are made, then with a machine that seems to me like a pasta maker, the silver threads are extruded and made into finer threads, the process is repeated several times, until the thread is thin enough. Silver threads are woven, giving the typical shapes of filigree, that will make of them beautiful earrings, bracelets, rings, and pendants. After describing the process we are taken to her shop, oh my God, this is like Disneyland for women, I don’t know where to start, I like this bracelet, and these earrings, and this pendant, well it is going to be difficult to make a choice.
I hope we are making the right choice, and our customers will love the pieces we have selected for The Art of handmade.

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