The Waling-waling Relikaryo features the beautiful Waling-waling (Vanda sanderiana) orchid framed by some fern at the top.
Waling-waling means "moth in flight," in the language of the ethnic tribes home in Mindanao where these orchids are endemic. They are conceded to be one of the most beautiful orchids in the world. Standing out for its spectacular form, color and size, it has played a major role in orchid hybridization, which makes it a recognized and acclaimed orchid. It’s national and international popularity, ornamental value and role it played to place the Philippines in the consciousness of the old and New World.
Relikaryos were center pieces to rosary inspired necklaces, commonly called tamborin necklaces. They usually held holy/sacred relics, like pieces of cloth a certain saint wore. Over the years, people would have them made to hold loved ones hair to hold them close after they pass. By the 19th century these pieces of jewelry had floral and natural motifs. As always handcrafted meticulously by generational artisans in northern Luzon. These Waling-waling Relikaryos are made the same way. Read more about the traditional relikaryo here
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.
How long it takes to make: 5-10 days
Due to its handcrafted nature, no two pieces will be exactly the same and there may be slight variations from photos.