Rosana Vargas: “Each one of our pieces has something to tell”

Passionate, forceful, intense, artisan Rosana Vargas seems to leave a bit of her life in every piece and project into which she puts her energy. I remember her beginnings, more than a decade ago, and since then she has not stopped. Her ascent has been vertiginous, especially in the last five years, ever since she registered her brand ROX 950.

Rosana is temperamental, perfectionist, obstinate, on occasions harder than the metals she bends, very demanding, especially with herself, but exceptionally humane and sensitive, which is translated into her creations. Her strength is contagious like her faith. She has “dragged” quite a few people with her undeniable leadership, a quality that, like her pieces, she has provided with passion.

Rox. Photo by Antonio Hernández
Rox. Photo by Antonio Hernández

An explosive woman has renovated the pulse of Cuban silversmithing. She has changed the rules of a centuries-old hermetic and sexist business. Her weapons are the design and the beauty of the simple and the exclusive.

We find original designs turned into genuine “handmade” jewels that lead us to question, once more, if silversmithing is an art or a trade. The original, transgressive, diverse and imposing ROX 950 gets here, and many already identify it on the streets and it continues revitalizing the market.

Daughter of Vulcan and Mercury, Greco-Latin gods of metal forging and trade, Rox has achieved being a great artist and a great producer and marketer, be it from her shop-venue or in the almost 20 outlets in select sites, like the most recent inaugurated in the shop of the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski.

What’s behind this creator, mother of three children and of dissimilar jewels? What is her secret? Read here, among her answers, some of the keys to understand her.

Rox. Photo by Antonio Hernández
Rox. Photo by Antonio Hernández

How did everything start?

It was born from the idea of sharing, creating and making come true a dream with my own effort. Instead of starting with the idea, as many do, I first learned the technique. I started to understand what the trade consisted of, to dominate it to later give free rein to my imagination. I come from Civil Engineering, a formation that has been of great use to me, because geometry and calculus are necessary for this trade. I started to adapt to having other hands around me, to work with another person. The assistant learned, because I like to share my knowledge, thus very good students (today silversmiths) have come out of this, like my sister Bertha, which in turn also teaches. En busca del sol, our social project that acts as a silversmithing practical academy, was born from that.

School, family business, social project, what is ROX 950?

All that. ROX 950 is also a family business because we work with my sister, my husband’s son, also a very good artisan, and my husband Antonio Hernández, who is a photographer and has the great responsibility of visualizing all our projects and activities. ROX 950 is a good team, more than 40 persons. I am fortunate to have them all and it gives me tranquility; I hope they are here for a long time. We still aren’t a big enterprise and we’re not in harvesting time but rather in a time of continuing to plant.

Based on your slogan, you give great importance to exclusivity, how do you assume the exclusive?

There are different ways of being exclusive. The art has a great deal to do with the desire to communicate following the aesthetic; that is exclusiveness. To aesthetically make something simple and elegant that transmits our seal and the history of each collection. We try to make each piece special and unique. Although they are mass produced they are all handmade, we want to maintain this, the magic of the step by step, because each one of our pieces has something to tell.

A formal evolution is evidenced in Crucero, your most recent collection. I see great irreverence, exoticism….

It’s a more audacious collection with pieces that are not worn on all occasions. Here the stones are spectacular and are sophisticatedly and exotically fused with the silver. Crucero is transgression, movement, freedom, exuberance and glamour. These are pieces that are ahead of their time. It’s like traveling to the future and returning wearing pieces that exude dynamism and mark the difference. Each collection evolves; each one surpasses the previous one and has its own essence. This one is having the nerve to wear what no one would wear, what persons who have followed us since our beginnings and have been preparing for this moment wear, and we’ve just finished pleasing them. You traveled the path, you dared little by little and climbed steps with us, that is what that collection shows.

What’s next?

Also audacity, but without stones. It will have to do with corks. Wine is elitist like haute jewelry. With this collection you will have the opportunity of turning your favorite wine into jewelry and to share that experience through the symbolic cork. Wine connoisseurs amass corks, so why not please that public who also appreciates silversmithing? The collectable cork will also be a jewel, it will be part of your piece and you will also be able to alternate them. There are corks of diverse forms, colors and textures, and that’s what we will use with our new designs. It’s not a collection inspired on a specific winery, we are open to all of them because ROX 950 and wine have much in common. Without losing our essence, we want to continue growing, not being in every outlet, but rather trying to be the silversmithing of reference with which all Cubans identify, no matter where they are.

Photo by Antonio Hernández
Photo by Antonio Hernández

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