Florentina Belarde is a fusion silversmith, blending her lifelong love of Pre-Hispanic Filipino jewellery with her adopted passion for the Celtic arts in her handcrafted jewellery.
She was born on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines in 1985. Mindanao in Pre-Hispanic times was one of the main centres for highly skilled artisans working mainly in gold, an abundant substance during that period.
After arriving in the UK in 2009 Florentina enrolled on a Silversmithing course to pursue her interest in jewellery making, which had fascinated her for many years. This led to Florentina exhibiting her work. Following her move to Scotland in 2011, she developed an interest in Celtic Jewellery and undertook in- depth research into its history. There in Edinburgh Florentina continued to further develop her craft.
Florentina became aware that some of the motifs she observed in Filipino jewellery were mirrored in Celtic works, especially patterns used in embossing. Without consciously attempting to copy any specific patterns, she found her work bore an uncanny resemblance to the ancient jewellery of her country.
Florentina uses 925 Sterling silver in her work and when using stones tries to source them, where possible, from Asia. She has created a range of items – earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings and brooches. Her handcrafted jewellery has aficionados Globally and she has travelled to Norway, the Shetland Islands, England and France as a result of the increase in demand for her work.