Jewelers routes

20 April 2024

All aboard for “Peru – A golden heritage » with Carole Fraresso and Aracari Travel

This exclusive 12-day jewelry itinerary to Peru has been developed by Carole Fraresso, an archaeologist, doctor of archaeomaterials, specialist in Andean goldsmithing and creator of the Motché jewelry brand. TFJP is honoured and pleased to be its partner.



Sandrine Merle. Peru offers an extraordinary wealth of culture, with a fascinating thousand-year-old history and a tradition of craftsmanship. What’s so special about “Peru – A golden heritage”?

Carole Fraresso. It allows you to connect deeply with Peruvian culture and explore the country’s ancestral jewelry heritage from a totally new angle. I have selected the most exceptional locations. On site, I bring cultural references linked to Andean civilizations, particularly the Mochica culture 100-850 A.D. This trip is the result of over 20 years of research work. I also lived there for 13 years. Over time, my story became naturally intertwined with that of Peru: they became inseparable.


S.M. You take us to some exceptional places, including the Larco Museum, with which you have particularly strong ties.

Carole Fraresso. The Larco Museum in Lima, where we first met, was my gateway to Peru. I was lucky enough to be able to start my doctoral research in archaeomaterials there, entitled “La parure dans les rituels de la culture Mochica” (“Finery in the rituals of the Mochica culture”), as it is one of the most exceptional collections of identity, ceremonial and funerary adornments in South America. While working at the Institut Français d’Études Andines, I was the first to have access to it, thanks to the trust placed in me by the Larco family. In the intimacy of the storerooms, I touched, weighed, measured and sometimes even wore these ornaments. Suffice to say, I know them well, and I’m delighted to be able to present them to you.


S.M. What can you tell us about the Lady of Cao, a remote site in northern Peru?

Carole Fraresso. In 2006, Peruvian archaeologists discovered a richly furnished tomb which, to everyone’s surprise, was that of a woman. Since the 1940s, all similar tombs had revealed men, like that of the Lord of Sipan. This overturned the prevailing theories and showed that, as early as the 4th century, they were not the only ones to exercise political and religious authority. I had a front-row seat, and saw the ornaments associated with the “mummified” body in an exceptionally well-preserved state: necklaces sometimes adorned with coloured gems, frontal headdresses and, above all, a set of 44 nose ornaments wrapped in cotton cloth laid on his torso. The arrangement and positioning of these objects is never trivial, as they have a symbolic function. To give you an example… But I’ll tell you the rest on the trip!


S.M. Still, a word or two about the tomb of the Lord of Sipan, the other major site we’ll be visiting!

Carole Fraresso. A 3-hour drive from the Lady of Cao, lies the Lord of Sipan. One of the greatest discoveries of this Mochica culture, the quantity and types of ornaments found in this tomb are the most impressive known to date. I studied some of them in the museum laboratory.  They are decorated with anthropomorphic beings with crab-like bodies, spiders… very present in the mythology of this region.


S.M. On this “Golden Peru” trip, you’ll be organizing exclusive meetings with experts and artisans. Which one is closest to your heart?

Carole Fraresso. The one with Armando Castillo, who shapes gold leaf by hand to create Motché jewelry. I founded this brand 15 years ago, applying my research findings to revive and safeguard Peru’s jewellery-making heritage. Some practices have undeniably been lost, others are on the verge of disappearing. But thanks to this initiative, we have succeeded in recovering age-old techniques and modernizing a cultural aesthetic. A descendant of four generations of goldsmiths and restorer of archaeological objects, he is one of the few people in the world capable of applying what he observes under the microscope. It’s the promise of an encounter with living heritage!


S.M. Can non-jewelry enthusiasts come along?

Carole Fraresso. They won’t be bored for a second! The jewel takes us through grandiose landscapes, from the desert dotted with fertile valleys in the north to the immensity of the Andes Cordillera in the south. Fans of architecture will be fascinated by the Macchu Piccu and the Huacas, monumental temples that were once the scene of sacrificial ceremonies. Lovers of flora and fauna will discover numerous species of Peruvian iconography, while gourmets will appreciate our gastronomic stops. It’s several trips in one.


S.M. Isn’t it too tiring?

Carole Fraresso. This trip is affordable and comfortable ; above all it’s an adventure through Peru, far from touristic clichés.


Next departure from October 22 to November 2, 2024 with Aracari Travel



Related articles:

“Peru – A golden Heritage”, journey into the jewelry of Peru

Chimu creoles, Motché

Carole Fraresso, archeo-metallurgist

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