Jóias do Pantanal (Jewels of the Pantanal) is a Brazilian handmade jewelry company started by Isabel Doering Muxfeldt and Anita Muxfeldt. They both live in a Brazilian state called South Mato Grosso which is heavily into cattle ranching.

Like another feature designer I wrote about before who made use of cow bones from the abattoir, these two artisans together with design partner, Verhuska Tameiros, also saw cattle horns as potential jewelry making material.

As you can see from the close-ups, cattle horn material is just gorgeous.

True to their conservation ideals, the designers only use natural products in their collections. Besides cattle horn, they use Brazilian gemstones, coconut, bamboo, clay and non-germinating seeds. The results are a lovely play on the creams, tans and dark brown hues mixed with metallic silver or the natural cords (cotton, leather) which reminds one of the kind of ropes and leathers cowboys use.

According to the Muxfeldts' website, cattle horns are traditionally used by Pantanalian region cowboys as blowing instruments (berrante) when herding cattle (see picture below). The video shows pictures of the cattle roundups and what the berrante sounds like. The narrator speaks Portuguese not Spanish. Have you ever wondered why?

In the 15th century Spain and Portugal signed the Treaty of Tordesillas, agreeing to a meridian going through the middle of the Atlantic. The Spanish would claim lands west of this line, Portugal, east. As the line goes through the part of South America which juts out, Portugal thus claimed Brazil!

The designers do more than just make eco jewelry. The actual production of the jewelry designs is carried out by nine employees who were trained and who work from home. Isabel added, "Many are women over 40 who do not have many work opportunities". Their growing artisan jewelry business now exports outside Brazil to countries like Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the United States.

The modeled creations shown are their newest designs which Isabel sent me. We both had fun translating our email messages via an online translator because neither of us could speak or write each other's languages!


For more tutorials check out my Jewelry Making Tips

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