Sitting in my backyard one sunny Sunday afternoon, my friend Lauren and I began talking about our upcoming birthdays.  While I firmly believe that every birthday is important and worthy of celebration, we were on the verge of a big one-one, one that started a new decade.

“What should we do to mark the moment?” Lauren asked.

I replied, “Let’s go somewhere epic!”  We then spun the globes in our heads and debated the merits of each continent, landmark, and experience we could have.  After a few ideas we decided that Peru and Machu Picchu sounded like an appropriately exotic locale.

So at the beginning of this year we journeyed south to the lush, fascinating, culturally rich country of Peru.


Mountains surrounding Machu Picchu


Cathedral in Cusco

On our first morning of touring, in Lima, I starred in awe at the carved ceilings of a cathedral.  The repeating geometric shapes calling to me.  “Are you sure I can’t take a picture?” I asked our tour guide.  Instead, I paused, taking mental notes of the shapes to sketch when I returned to our hotel that evening.


El Parque Del Amor in Lima


Courtyard of a cathedral in Lima

The following day we flew over the Andes Mountains (yes, those Andes) to arrive in Cusco.  The following days were so full of activities and sights that we began to keep a list of the amazing, hilarious and awe-inspiring moments and vistas.


The Sacred Valley


Traditional textile weaving

I was delighted when we made a stop at a silver workshop to learn about their jewelry making and traditional materials.  The workshop was full of inlaid jewelry and color!  I fell in love with the vivid color of ‘Peruvian Turquoise’.  I set about dreaming of the vibrant designs I could make with turquoise.


“Peruvian Turquoise”

After a few days traveling through the sights of the Sacred Valley we arrived at Machu Picchu.  I got nervous before our arrival, we had seen so many incredible places, would Machu Picchu now be a disappointment from over hype?


Marker on the hike to Machu Picchu


Lush beauty in the Sacred Valley

As we rounded the corner and the ruins came in to view, I gasped.  It was actually better than the hundreds of photos we saw before arriving.  Set atop (and surrounded by) verdant mountains, Machu Picchu appears mysteriously from the cloud forest.  Built without modern architecture or tools, the buildings still stand and draw questions about who the people who lived there were and why they left.


Arriving at Machu Picchu


Verdant Machu Picchu in the cloud forest

As I collected my scraps of sketches and headed home, I knew that the next destination for my collection had to be Peru.  Peru has a very different energy and aesthetic than my other destinations.  The feats of construction, the geometric shapes and repeating patterns felt like they should be made in to jewelry.


Colorful, traditional textiles

Interpreting the shapes and the energy of the country was a joy and a challenge.  There are so many colors, so many pieces of the history.  Over the following weeks and months I played with sketches and gemstones, I tweaked samples, and ultimately, I get to introduce a new destination to my collection.

Turquoise suite with background

Turquoise and Black Sapphire Suite

love life, live genuinely,



Just For You

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