Paula Mendoza: Ode To Pachamama

By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

Pachamama is a beautiful concept you’ll find throughout many parts of South America. Some believe she’s a deity, and in a way, that’s true. But Pachamama is so much more – she (and of course, it is a she), is the spirit of the land; the spirit of the Earth and all things on it, living and static. She determines everything earthly, be it evolution, earthquakes or harvests.

Still today, there are many people who invoke the benevolence of Pachamama in rituals, and when environmental problems arise, indigenous people in the Andes and beyond interpret this as a message from Pachamama. This concept ties in very well with James Lovelock’s Gaia Hypothesis and how the Earth, being one organism, at times rebels over mankind’s mistreatments.

We just discovered one designer who was born surrounded by Pachamama reverence, and who has made it the emblem of her ethical jewellery brand – meet Paula Mendoza.

Born in Colombia, Mendoza established her eponymous brand in the Big Apple, but continues to grasp inspiration from her country of origin. Her designs intertwine the gemstones and precious materials of Colombia – mainly ethically sourced gold and emeralds – into a symbolic and aesthetic storytelling where form coalesces with elegance.

The imagery in Mendoza’s jewellery design epitomises the elements of the earth as a means to get closer to the divine. The bold Colombian identity of her designs has captivated worldwide stores, such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Harvey Nichols and Net-a-Porter. By tributing the environmental soul of her brand, Paula spreads awareness on the importance of sustainability also by giving back to the skilled Colombian artisans, who hand make every piece using conscious materials.

Paula uses organic and raw materials in all of her jewels, especially raw stones that possess a unique shape and coloration. Amethysts, onyxes, turquoises, and emeralds are all sourced from bijou ethical mines in Colombia. This choice is meant to support small communities and showcase the natural beauty of the country, and is the reason why Paula decided to maintain her workshop there.

Her latest SS18 collection once again found inspiration in the Colombian  deity. This line conveys the way Cosmology homages Pachamama. Usually, local communities create objects to exemplify this love for Mother Nature, and the imagery in Paula Mendoza’s jewellery design epitomises the admiration of the indigenous people for Pachamama.

As the designer explained: “With this collection, I decided to speak a little bit louder about my country, my culture and the way I work with them and display my immense admiration. SS18 is the representation of my own contemplation of my country, of my own mind and my relationship with the outside world. Every piece in this collection represents something that I have learned from them and my belief is that when people wear these pieces they will feel protected by the beauty of Mother Earth and feel good in knowing every piece was made with “Pachamama” in mind.  

To shop the collection, please click here.

Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

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