Ofrenda Jewelry: Power and Purpose
Cecilia Echeverri, Founder of Ofrenda Jewelry, designs jewelry that touches upon her core roots and interests, while reconnecting the wearer with ancient principles. Utilizing her love of ancient symbols, Cecilia’s stylish pieces are meant to awaken one’s spirituality.
You mention that you create jewelry that empowers inner strength and inspires personal growth. How does your jewelry accomplish this?
Ofrenda Jewelry seeks to create pieces inspired by ancient symbols and archetypes that remind us of the essential elements of life. I want to translate the meaning of these symbols and archetypes into jewelry so that we can wear them as reminders of universal concepts and ideas that can guide us. These symbols and archetypes serve to communicate a message of hope and reverence to the natural world. I think it’s important for us to remember our values and what’s important in life and jewelry is the perfect wearable personification of this. It’s like a little talisman or a little something that you hold onto and you remember to honor something or it reminds you of something, maybe help you celebrate a milestone or cheer you on to achieving something.
I’m trying to express these symbols/archetypes in jewelry so that people can wear them and remember their connection to the divine.
Were you always interested in mythology and ancient civilization? What caused you to draw from them in your pieces? Can you share an example of their influence?
There’s a lot of research before coming up with a new collection and the design of each individual piece. I’m trying to weave stories from symbolism, mythology, fairy tales, all these mystic or alchemical themes that I’ve always been drawn towards and how they all contribute to helping us grow as people and to remind us of our unity with Nature.
The intent is how these themes can be expressed through jewelry. I’m hoping to honor humanity’s legacy, the primordial knowledge, celebrate and honor its intrinsic ties to the Earth and reverence to Nature, brought back to today. Many people are looking for meaning and clarity in this uncertain and changing world. Ofrenda jewelry helps people reconnect with ancient principles and nature’s wisdom to regain power and purpose.
Tell us about your career change and your journey into the jewelry industry.
I am an Architect, so I’ve always walked through the path of art, it’s just that, life led me to work in the field of development, social policy, etc. After years working in international development, returning to the art field is like returning home. Jewelry crystallizes an eagerness to make things with my hands and focus on developing my craft and myself, that’s when 15 years ago I decided to pursue jewelry.
But destiny has decided I should also circle back, and not ignore my professional experience in international development, and the conscience it has brought me about the affairs of our world, it has led me to be actively interested in issues about making our trade more socially aware and sustainable, which has led Ofrenda Jewelry to become a Fairmined licensee brand and be on a responsible sourcing journey.
In your own words, what makes your pieces stylistically unique?
Ofrenda seeks to create pieces inspired by ancient symbols and archetypes, weaving elements of cross-cultural significance and humanity’s spiritual legacies which reminds us about the sacredness of life and admire Nature. I’m still trying to evolve and develop a way to put all these concepts into creative form that is wearable art and make it also approachable and understandable. I’m in the process of distilling out a sort of “secret sauce” to study these concepts, curate and document them, and then make them into pieces of jewelry.
In essence, Ofrenda jewelry is inspired by ancient principles to inspire the modern woman. So, Ofrenda is on a mission to share humanity’s wisdom via jewelry in order to become better people and better stewards of this planet.
Can you tell us about the first piece of jewelry you ever made? Has your style stayed the same?
At the very beginning, I was obsessed with ethnic jewelry, and I made some beaded necklaces that sold well, back when I was working in international development. Ofrenda is in the fine jewelry category and as I’ve been researching elements of mythical stories and archetypal symbolism it has connected me to these ancient design elements that are directly linked to tribal people with old stories and ancient histories. This is informing my design with an ethnic flare that I am still in the process of imbuing it stylistically into the jewelry.
Among the pieces you’ve created so far, do you have a favorite? Why is it your favorite?
The Goddess Amulets are my favorite, I also feel they are the most personal designs. They contain elements of the feminine principle inspired by prehistoric Goddess religions of Old Europe. Revered and adored in ancient times, when it was the personification of all that was sacred and life-giving on Earth, these pictorial elements such as spirals, horns, and eyes were associated with this nature-loving, spirited culture.
How do you go about incorporating ancient principles and the natural world into your pieces?
Jewelry back in ancient times was a meaningful thing, even before becoming a valuable item, a commodity. I want Ofrenda to become jewelry of this sort, something valuable enough to become an heirloom but meaningful to embody more than its material value.
These ancient principles that I get inspiration from have certain signs, symbols, and images that are associated with them and are sometimes in themselves whole concepts. These patterns and signs offer a glimpse into the meaning of universal principles that can educate us about ourselves and the world. Their ties with nature are all around us, and if you start contextualizing them and thinking in terms of associations and metaphors, you can gather their mythical, symbolic, or transcendent significance. It’s like a mystical alphabet.
Where did the interest in understanding ancient elements stem from?
As a child I loved to do art, I loved to read. I was drawn to mythology, fairy tales, and fables. I also painted rocks, collected sea shells and pebbles, and made flower arrangements, I was really crafty from a young age. Fast forward 30 years, and my love for reading led me to start dipping my toes in mythology, symbolism, archetypes, sacred art and a world of spirituality opened up.
I want to translate the meaning of symbols and archetypes into jewelry so that we can wear these concepts or ideas that can guide us in our everyday life, so they can help us understand why we’re here, what we’re doing, and where we’re going.
What is the message you want your pieces to send? How do you want someone to feel when wearing Ofrenda Jewelry?
I’d like Ofrenda Jewelry to speak to our souls, and remind us of our most precious dreams and aspirations. People might also love knowing the brand gives back in meaningful and real ways within communities in the extractives industry by purchasing some supplies directly from them. I’m hoping my pieces make people feel a connection between the symbols and their stories to their own unique life experiences and hopes for the future.
I want them to feel connected, a wearable reminder of how amazing they are as a creation of life and as children of the Earth.
What advice would you give other aspiring jewelers who are looking to enter the field, or do a career change into the jewelry-making world?
There are amazing people in this industry, it is welcoming, and people are generous and share their wisdom without hesitation. I would recommend they take a basic jewelry-making class, get involved with trade associations, volunteer, network, and get to know people. Also, reach out and there will always be someone happy to help.
What is your mantra?
It changes, at the start of the pandemic, when Ofrenda was born, my mantra was “go with the flow”, I think it served me well. Then during 2021-222, as I was getting the brand off the ground, I was inspired by “no net zero days” juggling my nascent brand with a full-time job. Nowadays, my current mantra is “Be gentle with yourself”.
What would you like your legacy to be, both personally and professionally?
I want to touch people’s hearts. I want to remind them about spiritual pursuits amidst the chaos of daily life. Specifically, through Ofrenda, be able to share this meta-language and symbols that help us just be better people. I’m trying to find a way to share knowledge and insights with the world about all these ancient and very important concepts. To remember who we are as people, as humanity, and as a race in this cosmos. To shine a light on this ancient knowledge I think it’s important that we recapture.
I would also love my jewelry to help support our communities and artisans around the world doing beautiful work. I want the materials of my jewelry to make a difference and not harm and actually do good in terms of the people, the communities, and the environment.
An architectural tour de force of wearable luxury, Cecilia’s elegant symbolism is the perfect talisman for the everyday journey. To learn more about the collection, or to contact the designer, email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.ofrendajewelry.com, or call 646-504-7029. Ofredna Jewelry can also be found on IG at @ofrendajewelry.