I cannot remember a time when I did not have a passion for jewelry. I was always looking for that unique piece to add to my collection, searching and gathering little pieces of art for inspiration and to cherish.
I have also been fascinated with the use of organic materials, in particular horn, in the creation of objects and artifacts since ancient times.
I’ve been able to unify these two passions in my work and explore the interplay between horn and metal. Both are very versatile materials that can be transformed using traditional techniques to create contemporary pieces.
Horn has the unique property of becoming malleable when heat is applied, and it is often referred to as the plastic of the Middle Ages.
All raw horns used in my jewelry are sourced ethically. I believe that using controlled, organic raw materials preserves a long tradition of native artisans that for generations used horn and bone in an ecologically harmonious manner.
I like to play with geometric forms in my designs, searching for equilibrium and perfection. Other days, I go with free form. I love this dance between asymmetry and balance.
Inspiration from Art Deco, mid-century modernist jewelers, and my travels around the world makes my work a bit eclectic. That is how I see life, ever-changing with contradictions and contrasts, never boring or repetitive.
I think of jewelry not only as a personal adornment, but also as an artform. A one-of-a-kind piece can help people express the uniqueness in themselves.
With that intention in mind, I handcraft all my pieces from my studio in the Highlands of Southern Vancouver Island off the West Coast of Canada.
Valeria Martinez is a full-time jewelry artist currently residing on Vancouver Island off the West Coast of Canada. She was born and raised in Argentina where she became fascinated with the tradition of using organic materials, in particular horn, in the creation of objects and artifacts.
Valeria met the remarkable Argentinian artisan and became his apprentice. From him she learnt the secrets and techniques for working with horn and bone.
Valeria attended Rosario Conservatory of Music where she pursued classical flute studies. Her passion for jewelry as an art form never left her and was always in her thoughts during her time at the Conservatory. This led her to attend Silversmithing courses and to start combining metals with horn in the creation of her pieces. Valeria sees this pairing as a unique combination, elevating an organic ancient material to the level of precious metal, creating a one-of-a-kind contemporary piece.
After finishing her music studies, Valeria travelled around the world then lived in Germany and Ireland before settling down in Canada in 2001. Valeria furthered her metalsmithing skills by taking courses at the Alberta University of the Arts and has attended many well-known shows and festivals throughout Canada.
She has been a full-time studio jeweler for the past 15 years and still plays the flute in her free time. Her studio is in the beautiful Highlands area of Southern Vancouver Island where she is surrounded by unlimited inspiration from nature.