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early Mexican Deco silver and jade masquette Pin Brooch ~ Matl style

By in Mexican and Latin American, Pins/brooches |

Meticulously worked, with every nook and cranny in the repoussage having acquired a patina that underscores the original oxidation applied by the artist, this Mexico City silver repousse brooch has all the bells and whistles of the style closely associated with Matilde Poulat’s early work. “Mask” jewelry are quite often ignored by the seasoned collector of vintage Mexican silver because “masks” were used in a lot of the cheaply and quickly made pieces that flooded the tourist market at the height of the country’s 20th c. Silver Renaissance. Yet there is “mask jewelry” and then there is the kind of mask jewelry of which an example you see here. No comparison whatsoever and definitely worthy of the best and most aspiring collection…   Size/Weight: 2 3/8″ tall by 1 7/8″ wide; 33.4 grams Hallmarks / Date: “925”...

massive Santana Mexican silver and black onyx Bracelet ~ Spanish Colonial armband

By in Bracelets, Mexican and Latin American |

Known for his monumental Spanish Colonial-inspired designs maestro Santana is one of the many enigmatic figures in Mexico’s 20th c. Silver Renaissance. His jewelry, when one is lucky to come upon it, looks as if it’s made of the most intricate Spanish lace. Wide armbands, like here, that seem to want to be cuffs on a lady’s silk dress rather than sterling bracelets and equally breath-taking necklaces, their panels meticulously and profusely worked in cut-work to create labyrinthine patterns; that is his legacy but that’s also where our knowledge of him unfortunately stops. I will therefore let the twists and twirls of the cut-work in the armband at hand to tell the rest of the story. After all, for most of us, admiring them is the closest to their maker we will ever come…   Size/Weight: approx. 7″ wearable (measured mid-way up the bracelet’s...

Gerardo Lopez Mexican silver clamper Bracelet ~ Taxco swirl with dimpled dot

By in Bracelets, Mexican and Latin American |

Stunning Gerardo Lopez Mexican silver repousse clamper bracelet in a design that combines dramatic swirls with dimpled dots and stylized feathers on the back. Lopez is one of my absolute favorites among the early Taxco maestros. Though we don’t know much about him, I am convinced that he must have worked in the Los Castillo and/or Margot de Taxco talleres because his jewelry is very often based on designs issued by those workshops and their quality is impeccable. I also consider him one of the best clamper makers – bold, masterful repoussage, strategically placed oxidation, monumentality (if you excuse me the word!), an ingenious sense of movement and how it works make Gerardo’s creations museum quality wearable treasures…   Size/Weight: 6 1/2″ inner circumference (yet adjustable for larger sizes due to its hinged construction); width between 3 1/8″...

rare Antonio Pineda Mexican 970 silver dangle Earrings ~ caged pearls design

By in Mexican and Latin American, Rings/earrings |

A rarely surfacing pair of Antonio Pineda Mexican dangle earrings, this set is pictured on p. 114 of Stromberg’s book on the maestro’s work that accompanied the exhibition of his jewelry at UCLA’s Fowler Museum in 2008. Though Stromberg describes the design differently, I like to think of it as the “three caged pearls” earrings – a whirlwind of 970, high purity silver twisting around pearlescent white little spheres and holding them captive in perpetuity. Modernity and classic elegance in a perfect ensemble..   Size/Weight: 2 1/8″ long by 5/8″ wide; 16.7 grams (for the set) Hallmarks / Date: fully hallmarked with Antonio’s crown as well as “970” and bear Eagle 208 assay mark; 1950s-60s Condition: excellent vintage with strong visual presence, a beautiful combination of silver and pearl and great patina; no damage or...

Rancho Alegre Mexican mixed metals Cuff Bracelet and Earrings set ~ Taxco grapes design

By in Bracelets, Mexican and Latin American, Rings/earrings |

Founded in 1956 by a former shop manager for William Spratling, Rancho Alegre stayed in business until 1985 and it became known as a retailer for high quality jewelry by some of Taxco’s best maestros. The mixed metals cuff bracelet and earrings I am presenting here is a classic for the period and impeccably crafted. Silver and brass combine in an iconic design, grape leaves and clusters of fruit. Perfectly finished, with a three-dimensional quality that is further enhanced by the warm patina of time, the set is signed by A.L., a listed yet still unidentified Taxco silversmith whose work was quite often sold through Rancho Alegre…   Size/Weight: 6 7/8″ inner circumference (including the 1 1/4″ gap); 1 3/4″ wide at center front; earrings are 1″ square; 67.3 grams (for the set) Hallmarks / Date: cuff is marked with maker’s initials...

Gomez Mexican silver and turquoise moth Pin Brooch ~ Matl style

By in Mexican and Latin American, Pins/brooches |

Big and bold in its repoussage this early Mexico City style silver and turquoise brooch is signed by maestro Gomez and emulates Matilde Poulat’s coveted “moth” design. Stippling, chasing and oxidation render the design three-dimensional in a most dramatic way, an indication that this is an early example of this type of repoussage. There is nothing about it I don’t love – the patina, the beautiful color in the turquoise and its rich veining. A classic Mexico City brooch by one of the best maestros in the so-called “Matl school”…   Size/Weight: 2 1/4″ wide by 1 5/8″ tall; 17.8 grams Hallmarks / Date: maker’s signature as shown as well as “MEXICO STERLING”; 1930s Condition: excellent vintage with the silversmith’s journey on the piece dramatically obvious, with the patina you want to see on a piece of this...