Capim durado, or what is known as “golden grass”, is a type of plant that is unique to northeastern Brazil and has been used for years to make jewelry and other items. It’s unusualness makes it popular with the tourists, so there are lots of artisans that sell golden grass handcrafts, but not everyone does it as uniquely or as well as Helenice.
My husband is the one that gets all of the credit for “finding” Helenice — he was in Praça da Se (close to the historic center of Salvador, the Pelourinho), knew that I wanted to find someone with not-your-everyday-capim-durado, saw her stuff, and stopped to talk to her. He liked her and what he saw, and I was out of the country, so he messaged me on WhatsApp and sent me some photos. I asked him to buy a sample from her so I could see the quality when I arrived. My husband has good taste (after all, he married me!), so of course I liked what he bought, so when I got back to Salvador we went to go meet her.
Helenice was indeed as lovely as Bira had said, and her stuff was just as high-quality and unique. She is now my go-to person for golden grass jewelry and I’m thrilled to be working with her.