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  San Jerónimo de Tunán   Alejandro Sanchez  

The district of San Jeronimo de Tunán is one of 28 that make up the Province of Huancayo. It is situated 16 kilometers (10 miles) north of Huancayo, in the Andean moutains at an altitude of 3,274 meters (10,741 feet) above sea level. From October to March, during the Peruvian rainy season, food harvests prosper in the surrounding fields, crops include corn, potatoes, beans, peas, linseed, and in the mountainous areas, barley and wheat as well as a variety of other vegetables. To the pre-Incan Huanca people knew the town as Tuna meaning "beautiful place" -- the current name, San Jeronimo de Tunán, based at once on Saint Jerone of the Catholic Church and the original Huanca name, was adopted, as so often is the case, to reconcile the preexisting culture with the new colonial norms. The town was founded by the Spaniards in September 30, 1542 and three hundred years later, in October 5, 1854, gained indepedence. Today, the town has a population of approximately 8,220 people.

San Jeronimo de Tunán is in the heart of the Mantaro Valley Region, famous for its silver crafts, preeminent in the traditional silver "filigree" process. The technique is labor intensive, and involves bending and curling thin treads of a silver, and soddering the designs with a blowpipe. The word filigrana has its origins in the Spanish word filar meaning "to spin" and grano meaning "grain" or the principle thread of the material, and has been traced as far back early phenocian societys, reaching its highest development in the Greek and Etruscan filigree of the 6th to the 3rd centuries BC.

The origins of the silver craft in the town of San Jerónimo is shrouded in myth. Weeks after Pizarro and his men had captured the Inca King Atahualpa at Cajamarca in 1532, legend relates that Inca princess Catalina Wanka was charged with transporting a portion of the immense silver and gold randsom demanded to free Atahualpa. She was traveling throgh the Andean mountains with a large caravan of llamas, each carrying on its back a woven bag filled with gold and siliver. Her caravan stopped in Mantaro Valley, and in the dark of night a messenger came to inform her that Atahualpa had already been executred, despite the vast sums of gold in her caravan. She decided then that she must hide her treasure from the Spaniards. She carried a lantern and burried the gold and silver besides the moutains, in a tunnel deep in the earth. Legend states that an adobe church was built at this site, founding the city of San Jerónimo. Historians claim that that a wealthy and generous patron named Catalina Wanka did in fact exist during the time of the Inca collapse, but other elements of the story are still controversal. Regardless, the story has been pased down for generations, and is celebrated as part of local identity today.

Alejandro Sanchez went to school and studied to become an engineer. However, he was intrigued by jewelry-making....read more and find products
Angel Raul Beraun
Angel Raul Beraun graduated from his university as an electrical engineer....read more and find products
Gloria Espinoza
Gloria Espinoza has been making jewelry for ten years....read more and find products
Juan Veliz
Juan Veliz began his life as a concert violinist. He traveled around the country performing with an orchestra....read more and find products
Nelly Vasquez
Nelly Vasquez has been making silver jewelry by hand for over forty-five years. The technique she uses, called “filigrana,” involves...read more and find products
  Pictures of the Town

  Map to Locate the Artisans    

Ave. Giraldez # 652, Huancayo - Peru | Telephone : 51-64-223303| Fax/Ans/Tel: 51-64-222395 This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it   /  This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it