Rafael Antonio Zurdo
"I am a jeweler. I have a great love for what I do; this is my vocation. A serious man of few words, I speak when it is necessary, and I can talk for a long time if the theme is of interest to me. I like to improve myself and I want with all my heart to achieve my goals. <br><br> "My childhood was a bit difficult, as my father had several illnesses and I suffered from my parents' separation. I lived alone with my mother and also alone with my father. But I've overcome these problems and today I am a healthy man who appreciates life and peace. I learn something from every tough situation in my life. Today, my parents live together again and my dad supports me in my jewelry work. <br><br> "I became interested in this art because in the 1980s, my father learned to create designs with jade and he worked with a foreign man. With the passing years, he came to craft very good jewelry. When I was 12, I began helping in the workshop after school and, little by little, I learned the art. In fact, by the age of 16, I could transform rough jade and silver into a piece of jewelry. My father's clients were quite demanding, so quality has always been an important factor for us. <br><br> "I hope to be able to sell my own designs so that my father's dream of having a large workshop can come true. He has always wanted to have the equipment necessary to be able to provide work for people with certain handicaps. I dream that my wife and I can go to college one day and work hard so that we can give our children everything they need. "In my country, it isn't easy to be an artisan. It's a challenge, and you have to go knocking on doors to be able to show your designs. We run into businesses and people who don't believe in us, so it can be complicated. But this is a challenge I've had to face and overcome. Today, I'm able to benefit my family and my community because, when I get a big order, I can offer jobs to my neighbors. <br><br> "The nicest part of my art is being able to transform an idea in my heart and mind into a reality with my own hands. I love being able to satisfy a shopper and see that person smile. My jewelry is inspired by nature, by the shapes of objects and by the beauty of natural silver and jade."