The Banaba Flower Creolla Earrings are designed by Alaga at Sining.
Gold filigree is an ancient, meticulous and exacting technique in which the platero (goldsmith) must melt blocks of gold or silver, repeatedly hammering and cooling them until they become fine and delicate threads. The thin threads are then carefully shaped by hand to form into intricate lace-like patterns, often inspired by nature. In the Philippines, we have a very old and deep tradition in goldsmithing, existing for centuries, long before the arrival of Spanish colonizers. In fact, the Spanish were motivated to colonize the islands exactly because the locals were dripping in gold.
Banaba, or Lagerstroemia speciosa, is a tree native to tropical Southeast Asia. It belongs to the genus Lagerstroemia, also known as Crape Myrtle. The tree is widely distributed in India, Malaysia, and the Philippines, where it's known as Jarul, Pride of India, or Giant Crape Myrtle.
It flowers during the summer months producing showy purple to pink blooms. Each flower has six, paper-thin, crinkled petals surrounding a mass of yellow stamens. The flowers are pollinated by bees and develop into ovoid fruits. When mature, the fruit splits into six parts, releasing winged seeds that are dispersed by the wind.
Aside from its ornamental value, the Banaba is also well-known in Philippine traditional medicine. Its leaves, bark, and dried fruit are used to treat kidney ailments and diarrhea. Its leaves have been used to treat diabetes in folk medicine for centuries. In addition to their anti-diabetic properties, banaba leaves offer health benefits, such as antioxidant, cholesterol-lowering, and anti-obesity effects.
The people we collaborated with ensure these pieces of wearable art are 100% handmade by artisans who are paid fair wages in Ilocos. In the past, the artisans were losing thousands of pesos without knowing it, and so they helped them with their financials, costs, and encouraged them to see the value of their work so this is now reflected in the pricing. The artisans spend decades or even their entire lives just learning how to do it (from their elders), starting at a very young age. Very few artisans today know how to make this form of jewelry for many reasons, thus this craft is considered a dying art.
Handcrafted by: Jong and Edgar
How long it takes to make: 3-5 days
Due to its handcrafted nature, no two pieces will be exactly the same and there may be slight variations from photos.