Sitting in the workshop in Pichincha, with his head bowed as he carefully engraves an intricate pattern on a beautiful crescent shaped bird entitled ‘moonlight dove.’ Gabriel Tinta is engrossed in his work and oblivious of the world around him.
He is the fourth generation of gemologists and goldsmiths working in the family company that bears their name – Tinta and whilst he works on this sophisticated piece, close by there is another artisan completing work on a Paloma sculpture of a quirky looking dove about 15cm in height. He is setting colourful turquoise stones on the dove’s tail, ready for when it will stand proudly on an office desk or wall shelf somewhere in the world.
The craftsmen work in silver and bronze using the finest quality materials to create the popular and easily recognised Taller Tinta collection of sculptures based on the fauna of Ecuador – in particular birds of all types that are seen as a symbol of freedom. Production methods have been modernised in recent years, but most of the work is still done by a hand – a fact much appreciated by the buyers of these exquisite pieces.
The birds are carefully made in tactile shapes of silver which is then decorated with patterns and symbols from the pre-Columbian period. Stylish masks dating from this period are made too. Precious and semi-precious stones are used to decorate many of the sculptures and these include emerald, opal, onyx and obsidian as well as shells with delicate markings.
Taller Tina is well known and is one of the most important jewellery companies in Ecuador. Pope Francis visited Ecuador in July 2015 and when he was in Quito, he was presented with a magnificent ‘key to the city’ created by the talented artisans of Taller Tinta.