Daughter's Dancing by Father's Design

My father Luis Fernando Quintero moved to New York City more than 30 years ago. After a series of uninspiring jobs in Long Island City's factories, he decided to seek a job in the jewelry industry. He knew a thing or two about polishing from past jobs in his native city of Medellín, Colombia and recognized that he was a man of artistic abilities. After going door to door from jewelry company to jewelry company, his persistence paid off and he landed a job with the company Parisian Creations. His time at Parisian Creations would be long, but educational. When someone would leave, he would quickly learn to do their job until he had learned it all. There were other jobs in between, but in 2005, he used this expertise to design his own jewelry lines for his new independent business, Fernando Jewelry.

I had always admired my father's talent and secretly wished that I could work with him. It wasn't until this fall, when I decided to change careers and enrolled at the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance, that I would get my wish. Having quit my job to return to school, I faced the challenge of finding a job I could do while dancing. Given my demanding rehearsal schedule, I knew it had to be a job that would rely heavily on the internet. Short of a website, I noticed that my father's jewelry designs had virtually no online presence. I immediately had a vision for a father-daughter partnership. My father, with a talent for manipulating precious metals into any shape and pattern imaginable, would design all the jewelry and manufacture it by hand. I, with a talent for movement, would focus on moving his fine jewelry designs from where they live - his Manhattan workshop - into the online shops of the world. And so Fernando Jewelry's e-operations, a collaboration between a father and a daughter, began.

I never would have expected that the internet could bring my father and I closer together. While launching Fernando Jewelry's e-operations, I learned a lot about my how my father creates his jewelry masterpieces. He is a perfectionist and has been nicknamed by former co-workers the "jewelry doctor," for his amazing skill with restoring damaged jewelry. He is also someone who goes to great lengths to conserve. While collaborating with Meghan Myers at WedVert to develop a line of organic wedding bands, I learned that my father already habitually recycled and reused metal scraps and older jewelry to create his designs. Since then, he has agreed to make it a priority to incorporate these personal values and work practices into all of his designs.

So for this Father's Day, my father and I want you to join us in celebrating the internet - blogs, Etsy, Google groups and all - for the opportunity it gives jewelry artists to share their art with the world, while enabling a new dance artist in the process. Happy Father's Day!

by Karla Quintero