What Heirloom Jewelry Tells Us About Our Past and Future

What Heirloom Jewelry Tells Us About Our Past and Future


In the lost, broken, and forgotten, Maria Angelica Bermejo tells the story of our past —and hopefully, the future—through the language of heirloom jewelry

This fashion feature is an excerpt from MEGA’s April 2024 Issue

A story of adventure, resilience, and deep connections to heritage, Alahas author Maria Angelica Bermejo aims to kindle pride and inspire readers to rediscover and celebrate their own roots. Through showcasing creations and remarkable heirlooms of the Philippines, the gap between the past and present is bridged.

Bermejo, who has nearly four decades of expertise in antique collecting and jewelry preservation, has had her work featured at the Ayala Museum Shop and during the 2020 Dubai World Expo.

“In my youth, my mother consistently gifted us with jewelry during significant milestones, such as graduation, 18th birthday, and other special occasions,” Bermejo recalls. “Each piece made me feel incredibly special. It was during these moments that my fascination with jewelry took root. As I transitioned into collecting antiques, my appreciation deepened. It wasn’t just any jewelry I sought; it was pieces that held a deeper meaning, that whispered stories of their own.”

During her research, she discovered that her great-great-grand aunt had operated a jewelry store named La Sampaguita in 1927. It appears that the passion for jewelry runs deep in the family. The birth of her first granddaughter during the pandemic pushed her to create something enduring for her children and grandchildren—a legacy that would help them navigate the future. From being a private collector, she became a self-taught designer skilled in the intimate art of jewelry. 


“As humans partaking in this collective journey, our connection with these objects is shaped by the varied experiences we encounter,” Bermejo narrates. “Engaging with fellow collectors enriches my perspective, providing a vibrant exchange of ideas. Venturing markets expose me to the wonders of nature.” 

From wild boar tusks and shells to seeds and glass beads, they become parts of jewelry that carry a unique story. Within her armoire, she discovered overlooked, broken, and lonely pieces of jewelry. While metals like gold and silver hold inherent value, the understanding and sentiments attached to these pieces prevent Bermejo from melting them down. Each item, no matter its state, is too important to lose its individual narrative.

Dive deep into the beauty of heirloom jewelry in MEGA’s April 2024 issue, now available on ReadlyMagzter, Press Reader and Zinio.

Photographed by JORELI APELLANES. Creative Direction and Production by MARIAN SAN PEDRO. Art Direction and Set Design by JONES PALTENG. Photographer’s Assistant ELENA PERALTA. Fashion Assistant BITHIA REYES. Editorial Assistant JONNIE NGO. Sittings Editors RYUJI SHIOMITSU.

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