December 01, 2019 2 min read 1 Comment
Known for its rich biodiversity, pristine waters, and the hospitality of its people, the Philippines has often been esteemed as the “Pearl of the Orient.” Our handmade Philippines collection honors that distinction, featuring local, saltwater pearls from the province of Palawan. The collection is a heartfelt homage to the sparkling waters of the Sulu Sea in collaboration with CULTUREAID, an organization that aims to document, preserve, revitalize and promote the practice and relevance of Philippine cultural heritage.
Each bangle in this collection is hand-crafted, carved, and inlaid by the Maranao people of Tugaya, Lanao Del Sur. The Maranao are known for their use of Mother of Pearl inlaid designs, including their baor or baul treasure boxes, home furniture, and even weaponry. The patterns used in their carvings are derived from okir, a traditional curvilinear design that depicts the tail of the mythical bird, Sarimanok. Using upcycled gemelina, a fast-growing local hardwood, various patterns are carved, such as the Philippine sun or a heart design . The carvings are then delicately inlaid with local Mother of Pearl.
Each bangle also comes with a Bulol miniature--a figure of great significance to our artisans. Bulol is the rice deity of the Ifugao people of Northern Philippines. Traditionally, the Bulol is created to protect the rice granary and is said to be a representation of their ancestors. These miniatures are crafted from assorted upcycled Philippine forest wood by the residents of Banaue. Making miniature versions of these traditional icons helps the Banaue craftsmen meet their daily needs. It also represents abundance and protection from negativity for both the maker and the wearer.
Our Pearl Rosary, made in Manila in partnership with Angkan World, reflects the strong influence of Catholicism in the Philippines. This bracelet includes a mix of vintage pearls and pearls from the province of Palawan alongside rosary charms from Italy.
The El Nido Bracelet features two Palawan pearls nestled in intricate wire work. El Nido means “nest" in Tagalog, speaking to the delicate, woven design of this adjustable cuff. Simple and elegant, this is just the right piece to wear with your favorite Little Black Dress.
CULTUREAID was a natural partner for launching this special collection. They are known for creating an environment that empowers cultural bearers to leverage their indigenous knowledge by providing funding, training, documentation, and empowerment. By partnering with CULTUREAID, we are able to support the dying art of carving in a region that needs more promotion and increased awareness in order to keep local artisans thriving.
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