Who we are
Qullqi ([ˈqoʎ.qe]) means “silver” in Quechua, the native Peruvian language. As simple as it seems, the purpose of the brand goes far deeper: to offer handmade silver jewelry from Peruvian artisans to let the ancient tradition on silver crafting live on. To build a sustainable jewelry brand with full transparency on the creative process, production and origin of materials. To give peace of mind and give back to communities.
Crafted with care
Qullqi’s inspiration springs from the Peruvian culture and silversmith tradition, known for metallurgy skills and craftsmanship, producing beautiful and intricate precious metal work. The shapes and symbols of our jewelry are charged with this rich culture - meaning not only is it eye-catching, but holds meaning, stories and history. The results are elegant, contemporary interpretations by modern artisans. It is a collection of unique and characterful pieces with strong appeal in the European market – meticulously crafted, powerful, feminine and long-lasting silver jewelry.
We are community
We are working towards a dream. Our dream is, one day, to bring artisans together into one combined collective, our own Qullqi ethical workshop in Lima.
We are fueled by the spirit of togetherness and dedicate ourselves to the artisans whose deep connection to Peru inspires the foundation of the workshop. There, we want to offer internships, apprenticeships, jewelry making courses and even scholarships for certified jewelry studies. We want to provide educational courses and classes to the underprivileged and to visitors, passing on irreplaceable human know-how of the traditional Peruvian art in silver crafting. We want to both fosters a sense of community and attract visitors to spread the artisan’s knowledge and support our good cause. We also strive to expand our artisan collaborations – giving more work and more opportunities to more artists. For them, it can be life-changing. With our help we will achieve this dream.
We are entrepreneurs
Meet Hugo Valdivia, founder of Qullqi, RSM Graduate and an original Peruvian with strong connection to his country. Born in Chiclayo, the fourth largest city in northern Peru, he fell in love with extraordinary silversmith works on markets in the area. “The details on each piece were stunning, meticulous, and rich in character”, he says. Fascinated by the passion, dedication and craftsmanship he began researching and learning everything he could about the history of the ancient silversmithing traditions in Peru. He then went to study his MBA abroad to the Netherlands at the Rotterdam School of Management.
● We promote the talent of Peruvian artisan, silversmiths and invest in the survival of traditional handcraft art.
● We bring beautifully and uniquely, handcrafted solid silver jewelry pieces to European’s growing community of high-quality, sustainable fashion consumers.
● We care for transparency in the production process, for the environment, sustainable sourcing and the well-being of societies.
● We have a personal bond to our artisans and their stories.
● We provide an alternative to conventional accessory fashion.
● We want to make a difference. You can make a difference.
WE ARE ARTISANS
Behind each piece of Qullqi jewelry is a story. The story of people who made it. Behind each piece of Qullqi jewelry is a small team of passionate silversmiths and designers who craft each piece thoughtfully by hand, with the utmost attention to care and detail.
All our creations are made in Peru in our design and artisan’s workshops located in the heart of Lima.
Our jewelry derives its existence because of the passion and the experience of the local Peruvian artisans and their ability to create beauty. It goes without saying that the smiths, with whom we all have long-standing relationships, are seen and rewarded as such. Fair pay, good working conditions and additional support for their families are our ethos.
We care about transparency. We want you to know who made your jewels, what are their stories, their struggles, their daily life, dreams and hopes are. They not only put their creativity and skills into it but also a piece of them, their soul. We want you to know where your contribution ends up and how, with each purchase, you make their life’s a little bit better.
WE ARE CREATORS - OUR DESIGN PROCESS
Our pieces are designed in our Lima design office by our designer Monica. We love her feeling for European fashion trends and amazing understanding of Peruvian cultural heritage. She gathers inspiration from Peruvian history to neo minimal design and scribbles drawings and specifications.
We then make material, design and cost studies and evaluate each drawing based on these criteria. During this process we consult with our Peruvian jewelry export Marlis Lira and Juan Carlos, the most experienced of our artisans. Both of them work hand in hand for many years and with Qullqi since day one.
Prototyping: The ones that make it come to prototyping. Juan Carlos brings the chosen designs to life, often in just a few days. The Qullqi founder is flying to Peru to evaluate each prototype in person, with his team of experts. During prototyping we work on the body, weight, shape and texture. It is a constant process of improving, testing, calculating and adjusting – to end in the most refined and astonishing new collection piece.
Based on the prototypes, Qullqi founder Hugo, is purchasing the silver raw material from the Fairmined mines in Peru. Sometimes via refineries in Colombia but the material is always mined in Peru. As a confirmation that we only use Fairmined silver, we are allowed to put the Fairmined logo on the pieces.
The final selection of is then manufactured by hand by our artisan silversmiths in their workshops. The assignment of jewelry pieces to each artisan is based on their experience level, special skillset but also the aim to challenge themselves and learn new skills.
We then individually and manually check each and every piece before bringing it to the Netherlands with carbon neutral shipping method. And there it is re-packed, accompanied with a personalized and hand-signed card and shipped to you.
MADE WITH INTEGRITY
Qullqi, gives its consumers full transparency along the whole value chain. We are clear and transparent about who the creators are and we tell their stories; where we source our materials and who is manufacturing them; how much and which way we are giving back to our communities; and how you are participating with each purchase.
YOU GET AUTHENTICITYModern consumers don´t want to choose between ethics and style. They want both, and both are built into the soul of Qullqi. We play our part on leaving behind a better world. Every time you buy a piece of Qullqi silver jewellery, you are making a difference to the Peruvian people. We allocate 20% of any sold jewelry revenue to the charity “Angel Unidos en Accion” to be used on social projects in rural Peru, with focus on education for children. We passionately believe that education is the most powerful tool kids can have, to take their future into their own hands. We also aim to build more opportunities and a fairer society.
He then went to study his MBA abroad to the Netherlands at the Rotterdam School of Management, but couldn’t stop thinking about the artisan works he had seen. Visiting Peru frequently, he bought silver jewels as presents for his European friends and they were fascinated with the love to detail.
He started to bring more jewelry pieces and selling them from his home in the Netherlands. In 2018, after graduating, he decided to start the Qullqi business. His aim is to bring beautifully and uniquely handcrafted silver jewelry to Europe while promoting the talent of Peruvian artisans and the traditional handcraft artistry. But Hugo wanted his business to be very transparent and sustainable – bringing the artisans and customers as close together as possible, working with fair and sustainable practices, fair mined raw materials and re-invest in the local communities and in children’s education in Peru.
Through a common friend he got in touch with several professional silversmiths. The first artisan with whom he cooperated, Felix, had many years experience. He would become a close friend and partner, creating the most stunning and eye-catching pieces in the catalogue. Two more artisans followed and as well partnerships with local designers, photographers, web developers etc. Wherever he can, Hugo contracts local Peruvian people.Qullqi does not own any production facilities in Peru, but Hugo does regularly visits to Lima for product meetings, to step by the artisans’ workshops, to check on his help projects and his local communities.