By Cailyn Cox
The philosophy behind Armenta jewellery is simple: helping underprivileged people through education. Hailing from a family of artists, the founder of the company, Emily Armenta was filled with passion for jewellery from a young age, but was herself considered ‘underprivileged’ at some point. She struggled, and succeeded, in finishing her education, and knowing she could do it, she was inspired to help others get a leg up.
Armenta does this by offering other women in underprivileged communities the chance to train with master craftsmen to create exquisite jewellery. In fact, she began this process by “hiring the cleaning lady”, Lida. Once a housekeeper, Lida is now vice president of product development. As the enterprise has expanded, Armenta now runs an in-house training program for women to learn the jewellery-making trade and hires the best of them to stay on.
Having overcome her own struggles, Armenta believes in the power of unseen human potential and thrives on discovering unrealised talent. She hires and fires, creates and inspires — basically lives her life by a unique philosophy adopted from her favorite Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca; it’s called duende and, in her words, it means “beauty through struggle.”
A native Texan with a love for both the rugged and refined, Armenta is proud that today, her brand is sold in 11 countries worldwide, in the great department stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Harrods in London.
The components of each beautiful piece are all locally sourced and have been painstakingly hand-crafted from oxidised sterling silver and opulently coloured gemstones. The result is darkly romantic designs with an almost Byzantine twist.
Such beautiful creations and great success couldn’t have done it without the inner strength to overcome her own obstacles, and the kindness that led her to help others overcome theirs. “I feel I have been given the chance to make a difference in the lives of others and to challenge the status quo,” says Emily Armanta.
We’d like to challenge her even further, by making her pieces even more eco-friendly—we hope her Duende will soon motivate her to do just that.