PJ Valenciano is a Filipino artisan who like many of us started making accessories as a hobby but went on to give up her day job!  She said, "At first I was making simple linked up trinkets for myself until family and friends noticed my accessories and started buying from me. Two years later, I found myself resigning from my job and focused on putting up Palamuti (which by the way means ornament in Filipino)."

She started out with wiring and then eventually gravitated to bead embroidery. She adores making what she calls her Amatullah collection. She was initially inspired by Islamic geometric patterns and rose to the challenge of making complicated and imaginative pieces.

Her eclectic statement necklaces are hand sewn using seed beads and German crystals on black felt cloth/suede. One takes her 4 days to make with non-stop stitching for more than 8 hour stretches! PJ added, " Honestly, it was worth it. :)"

Her designs or Palamuti Storytelling Jewels became popular and her business grew. It enabled her to recruit young women from remote provinces to become bead weavers for her collection rather than work as maids in the urban areas.  With training, these women are now able to help support their families through the creation of beautiful jewelry.  She also sources the materials used from Filipino suppliers.

Her design inspirations now come from many sources.  These ideas eventually distill into detailed sketches which later translate into the actual "jewel". Her sketches are works of art in their own right.

PJ Valenciano Design Sketch
PJ Valenciano Final Necklace and Design Sketch
One design that is purely Filipino inspired is the Vinta necklace below. Vinta is one of the names given to a traditional boat used in Mindanao Island. She explained, "A typical vinta is characterized by its sail, the design of which comprises of assorted vertical colors which represent the colorful culture and history of the Muslim community who makes and uses them." 

 PJ definitely goes with how she feels and is not swayed by what's popular. And it shows.

Black Widow Necklace for Summer 

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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