Atelier Naica is made up of the creations by designer and artisan Melissa Casteneda.
Melissa Castaneda, a jewelry designer and silversmith, was born in Guadalajara, Mexico in 1978 and was destined for creating beautiful works of art. Coming from a family that created jewelry, she has been following in her families footsteps. She gets her inspiration from her love of nature and in the four elements – earth, fire, water and wind.
“What I look for when I am creating a piece is the flow. My goal is to have the perfect movement and softness within the lines, an authentic flow to it. The best time when designing is the moment I get to “fuse” the lines with the rest, in harmony, as nature should be.” - Melissa Castaneda
Taking care of your jewelry
We had the opportunity to ask this silversmith her secret for cleaning, because I know that over the years I have had tons of tarnished silver and never knew what to do or how to really clean it and get its shine back. After all of the sprays and machines that I had that didn't work, I am glad to have her go to secret:
Melissa says the best soap is DAWN. She recommends to boil water and with a soft toothbrush, brush the soap into the piece and then soak it in the hot water. The hot water helps to get the grease out easier than cold water.
You can also boil 1 cup of water, add 3 tablespoons of baking soda and let the pieces sit for an hour. Then take them out and do the Dawn soap process we mentioned above.
This is okay for most stones, except Opals, Amolites, and pearls - but since it is baking soda, it is not hazardous for other real stones.
Always use a soft cloth to clean them. If you purchase the kind that has a special liquid for cleaning precious metals, avoid using the cloth directly on the stones, only use it on the metal.
Buying good silver
We also asked her, with all of these silver stores on every corner, how can we tell when we are buying a good silver piece. She said, to buy real silver is tough, nowadays many factories produce thousands of pieces that are silver plated. The best way is to know your provider of jewelry and know that they are trustworthy. When buying avoid purchasing at the beach or the walking vendors if you are looking for the real stuff.
Quality work has a price, if the person starts to offer a piece for $200 USD and then goes to $30 USD, you can be sure that you are getting something other than silver. Silver tarnishes and that is absolutely normal, and if you really want to check and if they allow you, you can always file a part of a piece and it should have a bright silver color on the inside. Rather than a silver coated piece that will be yellowish on the inside.
My personal favorite
Personally, my number one favorite piece that I have seen of Melissa's designs is when she uses a Mar de Cortez Pearl. I am so blown away by the beauty and uniqueness of the pearls we have here in the sea of Cortez that are placed in a beautiful silver setting!
I will be treating myself to a ring with a Mar de Cortez pearl for my birthday :-). A few of my other favorite pieces are the mala necklaces and bracelets that she makes for us...stay tuned for a blog about this in more detail, as I love her attention to detail and the energy and love she puts into each piece.Join us at Eclectic Array in downtown Cabo San Lucas to personally work with Melissa to design and create your own personal silver stack rings at our workshop. Check out our facebook page for all the details - this is an exclusive event and will be very limited as she will be working hand and hand with each person to perfect their own masterpiece.