<b>Update (June, 2019)</b><br><br>I've worked with you since 2017. These years have been enormously surprising and have improved my income.<br><br>I began creating amber jewelry from a young age, and it is as beautiful as my village. When I first started working with you, improving my quality was a challenge, but you helped me see how each detail could be used to make a stupendous piece of jewelry. Sharing the details of this beautiful tradition has been a challenge, from the extraction of amber to polishing and working the stone, transmitting the value of the jewelry to each shopper who is pleased with my work.<br><br>When I saw that I could make a living through my my art, I said 'Now, I've made it.' Seeing the result of my work pleases me greatly. I don't work all by myself ? members of my family also help. And, when a piece is sold, it carries a part of them too.<br><br>You have helped me sustain my family in an incredible way. They tell me that I'm the most successful artisan in Chiapas. I always participate in amber expos, and I am proud that amber is the source of my income. < br><br><b>Original Artisan Story</b><br><br>I was born and raised in a small Maya town in Chiapas. From the time I was 14, I've crafted jewelry in silver and amber. My parents taught me. While I was learning, I'd practice with a piece of charcoal to shape it like a gem and polish it. This was something I really enjoyed doing.<br><br>My workshop is in my home and, like my parents did, I'm teaching my children. I like seeing my family help in the workshop. My children polish the silver, my wife does some designing and also sets the gems while I cut and shape the amber. As I work, I imagine how the design will look when it's finished. I have to be careful not to cut myself with the sharp diamond blades.<br><br>My feelings while working inspire me to express this in my designs. Other times, I craft jewelry that is seasonal or that sells well.<br><br>People in my community have worked with amber for many, many years. Southeastern Mexico has a number of amber mines. Once I visited one of them. We descended for more than 600 yards when I began feeling as though I couldn't get my breath. I was getting desperate and tried to run out, but I slipped and fell all the way back down. It was terrifying! Today, I laugh about it. Actually, it's memories like this that make me enjoy my work.<br><br>For me, the growth of my community is a priority. I like to help other artisans all I can and lend materials to neighbors who are jewelers. I also purchase the amber from mines in the area. My greatest wish is to send my children to college but, at the same time, I encourage them to continue the family's jewelry arts.