Alejandro Diaz Mesina
“Being able to design and create my own jewellery is like a dream come true.”
Alejandro Diaz Mesina, 2007
This is the amazing story of Alejandro Diaz, born in Lima, Peru. He now lives in San Joaquin, a southern suburb of Santiago, Chile. He is a highly skilled silversmith and jeweler who designs, creates and sells his work through Chilean company Comparte www.comparte.cl.
Seven years ago Alejandro decided to leave his country for fear of safety for his young family. At the time, Lima was suffering terrorist attacks from a number of guerrilla movements.
In Peru, Alejandro was working with Alpa de Perú, a company whose role is to provide fair trade silver and glass jewellery much the same as Comparte. Alejandro traveled to Chile to seek refuge for his family and discovered it to be a calm and stable country. He made the decision to leave Peru with his wife and daughters (14 and 7 years old) to live in Santiago.
Alejandro has always been artistic. When he left school, he already knew that handicraft was his passion. When he was 17, he started creating and selling products on the street with some friends and at the age of 25, began producing his own jewellery.
Alejandro produces a wide range of jewellery such as; pendants, rings, earrings, necklaces for adults and children and has been working in his workshop for four years. He rents the house where he lives with his family and has set up one of the rooms as his jewellery workshop. He works long hours, but is able to work in the comfortable and safe surroundings of his own home and the workshop allows him to provide for his family. Alejandro’s most developed skill is in design. When he arrived in Chile, he immediately realised that he would have to adapt his skills and style to meet client’s requirements. He loves creating new things and has since created more than 570 products for Comparte.
Alejandro constantly searches for new materials to use like leather, silver with steel, enamel and textiles. “Lots of ideas come into my mind all the time, being able to design and create my own jewellery is like a dream come true”
Alejandro has been collaborating with Comparte since 1999. Comparte leads the export and marketing functions for small artisan workshops like Alejandro, whilst respecting their business and social needs. They often provide partial prepayments to finance raw materials for large orders, enabling Alejandro and other artisans to compete in international markets. Comparte also commit to payment delivered promptly after the production of products is finished. Comparte provide Alejandro with guidance as to how to best incorporate technology and increase production efficiency into his workshop operations.
Alejandro’s dream is to save money to invest in new machinery and tools for his workshop. He says that he manages to earn a living with his art, but it is a daily fight and extremely hard work. One of his dreams is to have his own exhibition place in his workshop where he could show and explain his art to people.
When not working, Alejandro likes to watch cultural programs on TV and go to the countryside just outside of Santiago.
Alejandro's 7 Steps of Jewellery Production
- Alejandro buys in the silver.
- He travels to the main Comparte workshop to fuse it.
- When the silver has melted into liquid, he transfers it into moulds.
- He then puts a laminate around the silver to make it into tubes of different shapes and sizes.
- He then cuts and shapes the different pieces and welds them to form the main part of the piece.
- Alejandro ends the process by polishing the product and where the design requires secures precious
stones to it.
- The last step is the packaging, Alejandro ensures the jewellery items are safely wrapped and suitable