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Los Castillo Mexican mixed metals Pin Brooch with ancient pre-Colombian clay mask

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Impressive at almost 4″ tall this mid-20th c. Los Castillo Mexican mixed metals and azur-malachite brooch incorporates an ancient, pre-Colombian clay mask. The use of Aztec or Maya artifacts in vintage jewelry in Mexico was not unusual – after all well into the 20th c. it was not illegal to hold one’s own archeological dig in the country. William Spratling, Fred Davis and many in their coterie did, if fact, engage in such activities as well as frequent Sunday markets where campesinos would sell antique pieces unearthed in the fields. In the brooch at hand, the mask is held onto a stylized upper body made of copper, brass and alpaca with a richly colored azur-malachite inlay. The maestro responsible for its creation took care not to damage the mask which is secured against its background with big prongs wrapping around its pronounced ears like earrings. Before I leave...

long 1950s Mexican silver and pre-Colombian azurite mask Pendant Necklace

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Put together around the middle of the 20th c. in Jalisco, one of Mexico’s major silversmithing centers, the long pendant necklace I am presenting here combines a variety of materials in a way that is very typical of the 1950s. I suspect, however, that the carved azurite mask that takes center stage here is an ancient, pre-Colombian artifact which was, at the time of the necklace’s fashioning, treated to a “fresh” coat of glaze. Though I do not claim any kind of expertise in Aztec and Maya archeology, the workmanship on the mask reminds me of other, similar pieces I have had in the past that had been untreated so their age could be ascertained more easily. And it does have striking similarities to a Los Castillo example I sold recently which featured a turquoise mask. I love this necklace not only because of the stone mask but also because the brass, copper and...

Margot de Taxco Mexican silver and amethyst Bracelet, des. no 5240 “owl”

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Margot de Taxco’s des. no 5240 is often referred to by lovers of Mexican jewelry as the “owl” and it is considered a true “classic”. It can be found with different stones, art glass and in all silver but I think, being partial to amethyst, the present is my favorite combination. This is not a huge piece yet the impeccable craftsmanship in the execution of its repoussage, the micro-beading, the fantastic patina all combine to create a visually strong, timelessly elegant bracelet. I particularly love the fact that the links alternate facing in opposite directions and also that this beauty wears like a dream…   Size/Weight: 7 1/4″ long (wearable) by 3/4″ wide; 41.1 grams Hallmarks / Date: fully and appropriately signed with Margot’s logo as well as “STERLING MADE IN MEXICO”, des. no 5240 and Eagle 16 assay mark; 1950s-60s...

Jose Anton Mexican Deco silver repousse Pin Brooch, mozaico azteca inlay

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  Jose Anton is the Taxco maestro who created the Mexican Deco silver repousse brooch I am presenting here. A well-listed, early contributor to Mexico’s 20th c. Silver Renaissance, Anton is known for his prowess at the art of repoussage and his magical way of incorporating semi-precious stones in his jewelry. Here, however, he follows in the direction of the Los Castillo workshop and embellishes his oval “story-telling” pin with a band of azur-malachite inlay in the “Mozaico Azteca” style. I can almost feel the tiredness of the campesino couple as they return home after a day of back-breaking work in the fields hoping for a warm meal and a restful night…   Size/Weight: 2 1/4″ long by 1 1/2″ tall; 18.9 grams Hallmarks / Date: “ANTON” and “STERLING TAXCO”; 1940s Condition: excellent vintage with a very evocative...

set of 2 Los Castillo Mexican silver repousse rooster Pins / Brooches

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Vintage set of two Los Castillo sterling silver repousse pins / brooches in a figural design that is so … Mexico! I love the detail in the roosters’ plummage and their luscious tails as well as the attitude evident in their expressions. Fun to wear, I got them together and I believe they need to stay with one another…   Size/Weight: approx. 1 7/8″ tall by 1 1/2″ wide; 22.4 grams (for the pair) Hallmarks / Date: both pieces are fully hallmarked with the taller’s early straight capitals signature as well as “TAXCO STERLING”, “MADE IN MEXICO” and des. no 168; 1940s Condition: excellent vintage with very good workmanship and detail in the repoussage, great patina, a fun design and no damage or repairs noted     SOLD – Thank you! Contact us about this...

Carmen Beckmann Mexican silver and amethyst modernist Necklace

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I love looking for good examples designed by the few Ladies of Taxco that we know of. And Carmen Beckmann is one of my favorite, especially because she was not afraid to experiment with different styles. The sterling necklace at hand is modernist, very frugal in its design elements, almost Machine Age – but then there is the lusciousness of that deep purple in the amethyst cabochons. Strong presence, good weight, great stones, wear it with jeans or with your little black dress, the result will be always stunning…   Size/Weight: 16 1/2″ long (wearable; once clasped it becomes a little roomier, maybe by a 1/4″ or so); 11/16″ wide; 88.1 grams Hallmarks / Date: maker’s signature, as shown, as well as “MEXICO STERLING”; 1960s-70s Condition: excellent vintage with bold geometric presence, great patina, strong color in all the stones, no damage...