ROX950 The silver fair
Photos: Antonio Hernández
Crossing the threshold of the big house on Línea in the Havana neighbourhood of El Vedado is like entering a fantasy world full of light and sparkle, where displayed in geometric cabinets countless jewelry pieces crafted from silver, semiprecious stones and other materials lie waiting to be admired. The pieces are striking in their beauty and seem as if they were created by the magical hands of a fairy.
The fairy is Rosana Vargas, a young Cuban silversmith whose well-known brand Rox950 has achieved significant recognition in Cuba and internationally for the indisputable quality and beauty of her pieces.
She began her journey as a silversmith fifteen years ago when she created her first pieces when, as she told CubaPlus in an exclusive interview, “I got the chance to meet the great Cuban jewelry maker Miguel Purgaró. I was able to get to know him, I liked what he did and I began to take my first steps into that world, playing with geometric shapes, within my vision, in line with my interpretation of life.”
“The Rox950 brand was born ten years after I started,” says the silversmith. “I was searching for my identity and started making art, which taught me a lot. I grew and I learnt. But I definitely came to understand that jewelry making and silversmithing were my vocation and I started making my own pieces, but without welding.”
“There was a very young guy who lived near me, he approached me and started working with me. He was very keen to learn and was very adept. We started working as a pair and achieved our first joint exhibition [entitled] Una ventana entre dos [A Window Between Two] based on a song by the Cuban singer Ivette Cepeda. That’s when the brand started to form, with its own aesthetic and identity,” explains Rosana.
“Later,” she adds, “Yasniel - that’s the name of the young man - left to carve his own path. That was when, inspired by a particular piece that I made at that time, I started the project called En busca del Sol [Searching for the Sun]. A year later I had a small space, where I had some young people working with me. More people joined and I met the man who became my husband.”
“En busca del sol is a real project. We’ve rescued many young people who might have chosen the wrong path. The project has trained over forty young people in the art of silversmithing and we don’t just teach this art, we also teach them to have a good attitude towards life.”` “I work with my husband, and although he came from the world of wine he has great creative talent. On top of his work as a photographer he also gives me many ideas for pieces,” she says.
Asked which she most loves of the fifteen collections she has produced to date, she mentions Plata y Vino II [Silver and Wine II] because, “after working with semi-precious stones and silver, working with corks from bottles of wine and giving them the lead role in a collection, I think that’s something wonderful. I love all my collections like I love my children, but that one - Silver and Wine II - captivates me.”
She also stressed the importance of her Fifth Anniversary collection because on top of jewelry pieces it also features evening wear created by talented designers Ismael de la Caridad and José Luis Alas. Rosana blended silver into the designs to create dresses for modern princesses, decorated with elegant jewels produced by the hands of a fairy godmother. The Rox950 gallery-workshop is a must-visit for lovers of jewelry, where all the countless pieces made from silver, semiprecious stones and other materials are designed to make anyone who wears them feel like a princess.