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#Stories of jewellery - SUN SYMBOLS

on 19.03.2018 21:55
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This is our week of sun symbols - a moment to think and talk about them. Baltu Rotas jeweller and designer Inita Straupe is telling us about them.

How did Baltu Rotas begin? 

Story of Baltu Rotas began 25 years ago when a hobby of Vitauts (co-founder) - making copies of ancient jewellery - became our family business. At first I was making drawings for jewellery that I wanted Vitauts to make in a smaller size - more wearable nowadays. Then I started making jewellery myself, my first jewellery were sun symbols that were originally found in Cesis and was worn in 12th century. This necklace consisted of several sun pendants. I made this pendants myself, then the whole necklace. And then there was already an idea to make more and there were the first customers for me. Now it is 25 years later but this specific sun symbol is still popular and we are still making it. Now we also offer people to make pendants themselves - ones like this sun symbol or with their own ornaments.

Which sun symbol is in your jewellery box? 

In my jewellery box is a sun symbol from Kalsnava, I made the drawing of from an old book in 2x2 camp where we were teaching jewellery making to latvian youth together with Lilita Spure and my husband Vitauts. The camp was happening in the country side house of Austris Grasis, it was middle of the summer and I felt that I want to make something really special for myself. And now, every time I am wearing this sun symbol I can again feel this hot and lovely smelling summer day.

Could you tell us about the most luxurious sun symbol you ever made?

It was a very special necklace I made together with glass artist Laura Šmidberga. We were making a copy of a beautiful necklace worn by livs women in 12th century. Laura made glass pearls and I made the pendants. Now this necklace is on display in our jewellery museum in Old Riga. There were glass pearls with silver and gold folium in it. When I tell people about this necklace, normally they are surprised and don’t believe that it was worn by liv women in 12th century because they are not typical, and they are so beautiful and special that could be worn by an evening dress to a  special party.

Sun symbol is also the logo of Baltu Rotas. Where did you find it?

That sun symbol we found long time ago, even more than 25 years ago in an archeology book. First Vitauts made an exact copy of it for an exhibition, but I liked the Luck Croses in it so much that I wanted to make from it something that could be worn on an every day basis. We made the sun symbol smaller one time, then another time. From those we created many new models - pendants, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, brooches. And we loved it so much that we picked it as our logo. Some five years ago we also put stones in this sun symbol and it was beginning of charity line - of each piece of this jewellery bought we donate 15% to latvian children in need. First Zvannieku mājas, then Cerību Spārni.

With this sun symbol I also have memories about participating in Folklife Festival in Washington D.C. I was sawing this sun symbol, showing americans how this sun symbol is made, how latvian jewellery is made when a local latvian came by - Benno. We became friends and even now, many years later, every year for my birthday I receive a beautiful hand-written card.