My friend Ruth is from Peru. I have long been a fan of Peruvian jewelry ever since I came to know Ruth. She kindly let me photograph this intricate filigree pair of gold earrings of hers recently.

They come from Catacaos, a town in the Piura province of her native land. These were made by present day Chimú artisans who are descendants of the Mochica or Moche culture which flourished along the northern coast of Peru from 100-800 A.D. About 50 years before the arrival of the Spanish, an Incan ruler conquered the Chimú around 1470 AD.

Unlike the Inca, the Chimú worshipped the moon, not the sun. Their art is also distinctive. All their ceramic work is black and their metal work intricate and detailed. The metal smiths are famed for their fine work using copper, gold, silver, bronze, and tumbago (copper and gold).

Some of the Inca and pre-Inca cultures like the Chimú used a ceremonial knife called the tumi (below left) to sacrifice some poor llama at the end of the potato and maize growing season. This was done in hope of better crops the next year.

Today, the tumi is the national symbol of Peru. Hanging one on the wall is believed to bring good luck. Lucky me! I received a lovely pair of sterling silver earrings from Ruth as a gift a couple of years ago. You can see the tumi symbol in the middle.

For more tutorials check out my Jewelry Making Tips

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