Mining for belmont at Quebrada Honda.
A close-up of a chunk of belmont.
Tools for working the rocks and some handicraft at different stages of work.
Local species, in this case a toucan, are common models for the belmont handicrafts.
Nativity scenes are also very popular with belmont buyers.
Local children learn to appreciate this craft and, in many cases, get involved with the family production when they grow up.
Sixty years ago, Mr. Lorenzo Martinez, an agricultural worker from Rincon de Las Palmas de Pajonal, province of Cocle, was working near a gulch, when he noticed a very interesting type of rock. It was a very colorful one and this caught his interest. He picked up a few bits of it and brought them home. Later, he decided to carve a figurine out of the beautiful rock. Right then, the now popular tradition of belmont carved handicrafts was born.
Membrillo is a town located in the province of Cocle, near the original mine of belmont at Quebrada Honda. Today, many of the locals devote themselves to the carving of belmont as a full time job. The resulting handicrafts, usually representations of animals, are very popular among collectors and tourists. Some people even order Nativity sets and bigger pieces.
The process of making a belmont handicraft involves about seven diffent steps such mining the rocks, cutting them rought, carving them, using sandpaper on them, polishing them and applying resine for achieving a better finishing.
We were very pleased to confirm that many of the local youths are learning the craft, so the future of this beautiful activity is guaranteed. If you like art and handicrafts, make your you get a few pieces of belmont in your next visit to Panama.