The love story between Blázquez and the art of jewelry
I make an appointment with Joan Blázquez, the most renowned jeweler in the city, in his workshop on Calle Major. I want to know the reasons why he has decided to close his shop –although he does not have a specific or short-term date– and, incidentally, review his personal and professional career. He opens the door to his workshop for me and we sit on one of the sofas. Blázquez explains to me that that room had been, years ago, set 1 of Tarracovisión, the first television in the city. He is noted by the decoration and the arrangement. The walls are presided over by three large posters. In one you can see him and his two sons doing a pillar of four in Cuba, with a shirt with the Tarragona flag. To the right of this image, there is a photo of the Rolls-Royce that the protagonist had, with the Cathedral in the background. Blázquez explains to me that, years ago, he left this car to his best clients when their children got married. It was a way of thanking them for his fidelity. The last poster, also XL, is a photo of him with a model, in the vestiges of Centcelles. It was for a kind of catalogue, he says.
One of the tables where the jeweler works is the one that was used in the past to make the Tarracovision newscasts; the other table he made with his own hands. On some shelves you can see some of the sculptures he has made. For those who don't know, Blázquez, apart from being a jeweler, is also a sculptor.
Interviewing the protagonist, I can't take my eyes off the pendant he's wearing. It is a bust of him, which opens and, inside, you can see a miniature of the entire naked body of Blázquez, with angel wings and the hand on the clock. "Time only passes when you look at the clock. When my time comes, I'll go," says Blázquez, explaining the meaning of the jewel. And after this, I start the recorder.
Joan Blázquez was born 72 years ago in Plaça del Pallol. His father was a Civil Guard from Salamanca assigned to Tarragona. "My mother, with a lot of vision, told him to ask for Catalonia," he recalls. When Blázquez was two years old, the entire family moved to Pla de la Seu, specifically to Casa Balcells, where the protagonist spent his entire childhood, along with his five siblings. Blázquez was already an artist from a very young age; he made his toys and built roman lamps.
He studied vocational training until he was 14 years old, when he decided to drop out and start working. As luck would have it, Blázquez found an apprentice job in a jewelry workshop on the Rambla Vella. «When I entered there I had a total revelation. Then began a love story so strong that I will not be able to stop until the day I die, "explains Blázquez. That day he knew that jewelry would mark his life.
At the age of 15 and only 8 months of experience, he decided to open his own workshop. "I was very restless and wanted to do my thing," she says. From then on, she started making arrangements and commissions for other jewelry stores. At 22, he opened his first store in Plaça de la Font. “I needed to let go of my creativity and imagination. I wanted to sell my own jewelry and deal directly with customers," she explains.
The Blázquez empire no longer had a brake. He opened more stores, on Calle Major, in Altafulla, on Calle Sant Agustí and even in Reus. In addition, he involved his brothers in his project. So much so that some still work with him, keeping the accounts or serving the public. Currently, the only store open is the one on calle Sant Agustí, where behind the counter we can find his brother Vidal de él.
On Calle Major, Blázquez still has his workshop. A workshop that, as long as he is alive, will never stop working, he assures him. "I'm not going to stop playing. Maybe I'll stop working to sell, but I'll keep doing my little things», explains Blázquez, while showing the more than 6,000 molds that he has made and that he has perfectly organized in his workshop. The Sant Agustí store will close, but there is no specific date. The idea is to lower the blind when the genre is over.
Blázquez's jewels have a particularity. Without seeing the designer's signature, all people from Tarragona can recognize that they are made by him. They have their own personality. «I wanted my jewelry to be timeless, not to follow any fashion. In fact, I look at fashion but not to follow it. It has been shown that I have succeeded. I still sell watches that I designed 30 years ago”, explains Blázquez. The jeweler from Tarragona has known how to create a style, he has not copied it, nor has he ever tried to look like anyone else. What makes him special, in his own opinion, is being both a jeweler and a sculptor. This is part of the success.
Among the many masterpieces by Blázquez, there is one that stands out above the others. It is the Commander watch. “The sphere looks like the rev counter of a car or an airplane. It is called like that because I think that the one who wears it is the commander of the ship”, he comments. Blázquez's work is so extensive that it would not fit in this article. From a jewelry school in Cuba, going through the tabernacle of the church of Sant Joan, and ending with the commemorative sculpture on La Rambla, for the 125 years of Nàstic.
Among the many acknowledgments, Blázquez was awarded international prizes in Brussels and, in 2016, obtained the title of Mestre Artesà de la Generalitat, with hardly any training, but an important work behind it. Blázquez will leave the legacy for the city. There is no doubt that we have the jeweler with the most style and personality here.
Joan Blázquez set up his own jewelry workshop at Casa Balcells, when he was only 15 years old