Milano Jewelry Week 2022: A story of humor, insomnia, design and collaboration. Well, and also some tears. But I do promise you that it will have a happy resolution.

 One dim lit morning at my office last January, I came across an Instagram post with an invitation to apply to Milano Jewelry Week 2022.

It was a very simple image, and yet my eyes lit up. I had a few free minutes between the pending organizational tasks of the beginning of the year. I decided to apply and send my CV, my portfolio and all my data. The dreamer in me was the one pushing for the application, but the truth is that I lacked faith in myself at the time. Then, I forgot that I had applied.

On January 27 at 10 in the morning my cell phone rang. I noted that the caller’s number was +31 and I was trying to guess if it could be my friend Marieke, who is from the Netherlands and often calls me.

I was surprised to hear that it was a girl with an Italian accent in her English and that she was telling me that they really liked the style of my pieces…and that they were pleased to invite me to participate in Milano Jewelry Week in October. She explained several things to me about the event, that it was a collective exhibition and contest…That it was going to be inside the Palazzo Bovara, and this and that… My English didn’t work very well at that moment, I couldn’t help but nod and shake.

Héctor was with me at my workshop at the time and I only saw his questioning eyes looking at me. I couldn’t do so many things at the same time with my emotions at full speed… I only managed to write on a post it with black Sharpie: MILANO JEWELRY WEEK!

I hadn’t told anyone that I had applied to MJW, so none of my friends or family had any context about the call or the neon post-it. His eyes still looked confused.

The first thing I did when I hung up was tell Héctor what was going on. Immediately afterwards, I called my boyfriend to explain to him what had just happened to me, in between the surprise and some tears. I began to get scared and nervous… the woman had mentioned that the participation fee was practically two thousand euros. Not counting the cost of manufacturing and designing two new pieces, travel expenses to the other side of the world, etc… Where was I going to get that money from if we were in the middle of planning a new engagement ring campaign? Was it worth the financial commitment to fulfill such a dream?

Have you seen that meme of ‘I can do anything but first I’m going to cry’? Well, that summed it up, pretty much. Yet, supported by my loved ones and those close to me, I decided that I would participate. By February 14, I had already requested a loan to pay half of the registration fee and I began to send sponsorship letters to different companies and government areas. After my first installment, I spent a couple of stressful weeks because they held my money in interbank limbo for two weeks… but suddenly one day, they confirmed that the payment had arrived and I… I became an official participant of Milano Jewelry Week 2022!

You know, I have had a long love affair with Milan. I hadn’t realized this until now that I’ve been looking back. In 2014, having just graduated with my bachelors in Industrial Design, I applied to the Politecnico di Milano to study a specialty in jewelry design… 

I ended up being hired to work at Up with People and, disappointed that I had not received a response from the Politecnico, I took the job.

The first week or two in my new job in Denver, I received the acceptance letter to the program in Milan. It was already too late.

Then in the summer of 2015, when my UWP contract ended, I stayed in Europe for about six more weeks. I was hoping to find an internship there in Milan with a jeweler that I really liked. I was sending emails to different jewelers in Milan and Amsterdam, but I was especially talking to this jeweler from Milan. She was curious and interested, so I made an appointment with her.

I almost only went to Milan to introduce myself to her and leave my printed CV. However, she also gave me the negative, as well as several jewelers to whom I wrote.

And so, coming back to the present, after the exciting call that will take me back to Milan, the question was: what am I going to send to the exhibition? *Faints in Spanish*

The woman who called me on the phone to notify me of my selection had mentioned the option of sending pieces that I had already made…but…what would be the thrill of that? I felt from the beginning that I would have to create new pieces and push myself to create.

Just last year I had been complaining to myself that I have designed less than other years. When you start your business, sometimes you sacrifice designing certain things for fear that it won’t sell, sometimes I’ve played it safe…

But well, the desire to do something new did not remove the dilemma. I kept turning the matter over.

After an embarrassing amount of sleepless nights, I thought of a rather truncated emoji collection that I never finished making that has a special place in my design almanac.

I spoke with my friend Apolo Ibargüen(@ibargu3d), a 3D modeling ace and also an excellent industrial designer. I told him about the idea and he was excited with me to enter as a collaborator as one of the pieces that I would send.

I told him I wanted to scale an emoji ring design up to the size of a giant bracelet. My idea was to 3D print the bracelet and not convert it to metal, but leave it in the plastic material to take advantage of the neon color. I am interested in continuing to investigate a trend of plastics, allegory, DIY jewelry, and sustainability that have been developing as a result of the pandemic.

My brothers actually have an entrepreneurship related to 3D printing, and they quickly joined the collaboration of the piece. Automatics for Life (@automaticsforlife) became the technology partner for the bracelet, and boy did we do a lot of testing.

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The original design of the emoji ring had a round cabochon stone in the center, but now that the design would be almost 5 centimeters in radius, I thought it would be very interesting to generate a plastic ‘stone’ type piece. Then I remembered that even earlier in the year I had had a call with some girls from CDMX who have their brand in which they make pieces of jewelry and articles with recycled plastic. I told them about this exciting opportunity and they became as thrilled as me.

They were very excited to collaborate and generate this plastic ‘stone’, so then Antrópica ( also entered the collaboration with great enthusiasm.I sent them the technical drawings and we worked remotely for several months until the piece I envisioned was pulled off.

It was very difficult to generate the mechanism that we needed to accomplish the emoji bracelet… and it was also very difficult to print the piece and get it to come out with the necessary resolution. We probably printed more than 20 separate versions.

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I had to finish everything and send it to Milan by a June 2022 deadline, and I just watched the days and weeks go by between remote meetings and face-to-face meetings with Apolo, Dulce, the girls from Antrópica and the Automatics for Life workshop.

At the same time that these multiple collaborations with so many people were happening, another collaboration was taking place for piece number two. My friend and teacher of the Sarape weaving technique, Dulce Esmeralda Tobías (@maria_vencata), was helping me to bring to reality a textile for a bib-type maxi-necklace that would bear metal over the textile.

I wanted to make the second piece as a tribute to the state I live in, its rich colors and the cultural object that distinguishes it: the Sarape textile.

We also collaborated for this piece remotely, we had calls, videocalls, many chat conversations and a ping-ponging of ideas until the final design was achieved. I sent her measurements, technical drawings and the colors. Dulce went to work on two identical sarapes from her workshop in Saltillo and finally sent them to me with a contact who drives huge trailers and was passing through my city of Torreón. It makes me smile to think about the anecdote, but it took a lot of creativity to pull this off without a budget.

In my workshop I started working on the metal front piece for the necklace. After many hours of work, when I tested the metal piece on the serape, I realized that my initial idea did not look as good and I had to rethink everything.

In my sketches I saw a geometric shape attached to some stars. I took out my laptop and began to draw cleanly, I printed it to the necessary measurements, I did some tests and I started anew without sulking too much…there was no time for tears!

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I finished the necklace on a Friday with the help of another friend from the Silver Association and her workshop, also the help of a seamstress who helped me sew the metal piece to the serape…The next day was full on full. I had a friend’s bachelorette brunch at 10am, I had the photo session with the pieces literally just finished scheduled for 7am…and at 5pm I left for my flight to San Antonio to go teach classes for the summer at Camp Waldemar.

We had the photo session with the photographer Estefanía Cuaraqui (@only_hoop) very, very early that Saturday. From 7am I was ready, we took the photos in a couple of hours and just as I was dressed I went to my important brunch appointment.

I was there another couple of hours and my sister-in-law took me home for a quick meal and for my bags, and before 6pm I was already on a plane with everything and my pieces finished…ready to send them to Milan from Texas.

Whenever I look back on that day and all the work that that week entailed, I get a little stressed. I even sigh in relief now…

 But then, you know what? I got sick at camp, had someone do me the favor of taking my parcel to Fedex, got the pieces sent, very expensively, indeed….And then…And then they got detained at a FedEx in Milano for two weeks. I called customer service daily with no answer… I seriously did not sleep many nights.

They finally sent me an email that they had received them at the Prodes Italia office, which organizes Milano Jewelry Week.

You still with me? If you have already come this far, I thank you for joining me on the adventure. Right now, I’m about to buy the flight. I am in talks with some sponsors and I have a raffle to raise funds that will take place on September 30, 2022.

I am relieved that I managed to send the designs, and very grateful to Apolo, to Néstor, to Miguel, to Dulce, to Enrique, to Karen, Andrea and Paola. Also thanks to my boyfriend who has believed in me a lot even though sometimes I lack faith. Without everyone’s support I would not have achieved the pieces and the adventure that this year has been so far. I have also felt very supported by my community of friends, clients and family who have contributed to the GoFundme campaign.

Thank you very much for reading and… I hope in October to send you many photos of my trip to Milan. Follow me to find out more about this happy continuation, because… I don’t think it’s an ending just yet.

A warm hug,


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