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rare Fred Davis Mexican silver, copper and amethyst Necklace ~ grapes on the vine

By in Mexican and Latin American, Necklaces |

Dating around 1930, this Mexican Deco Fred Davis necklace in a design that rarely comes up, is an early example of “mixed metals” jewelry. Combining repousse silver with copper wire and then bringing in ripe, saturated color with the amethyst cabs, the necklace is an ode to vineyards and aromatic red wine. Though the brooch of the parure appears in the third edition of Morrill’s “Mexican Silver” (p. 28), the necklace is hard to find and I am thrilled to be presenting it here. Beautiful repoussage adds flesh to the central station while the links forming the chain are riveted to each other on the back resulting in a seamless flow of serrated leaves. Classy and classic…   Size/Weight: length between 16 1/2″ – 17″ (can easily accept an extension, if needed); central station is 2 7/8″ wide with a drop of 3″ (including the...

fab Mexican silver and citrine shadowbox Pendant Necklace

By in Mexican and Latin American, Necklaces |

I am so excited to have discovered this as-sweet-as-can-be Mexican silver shadowbox pendant! My excitement is not due to its excellent craftsmanship – just take a look at the row of figures running the outer perimeter; nor is it because of the beautiful, sparkling gemstone – it registers right on the divide between citrine and spinel but I am calling it a citrine. I am thrilled about this find because usually, this specific sub-genre of Taxco jewelry closely associated with the Los Ballesteros workshop comes in a much bigger size. I had never seen a smaller example like this one before! Now mind you, it is not diminutive – but it is smaller and to a lot of people out there, easier to wear. So if you always coveted one of those bold pendants but shied away because of their … boldness, here is your opportunity to own a “miniature” (so to say!) version...

masterful Doris Mexican Deco silver repousse floral Necklace

By in Mexican and Latin American, Necklaces |

One of the most interesting – and few – female figures of Mexico’s 20th c. Silver Renaissance, Doris Smith Chamberlin was a Texas-born American who decided to move to Mexico in the 1940s to open her own workshop after having completed post-graduate studies in art and having taught woodworking, textile-making and silver-smithing for a few years in California (I am grateful to Decotini for the information). In Mexico City, where she settled, she created and sold her own designs but also commissioned work from the best Mexican maestros. Often signed “Corpus Artisans” alongside her own signature, Doris’s jewelry exhibits impeccable craftsmanship and finishing and inspired design. The floral necklace presented here illustrates, I believe, the previous statement in the most effective way. The repoussage is fleshy and bold yet doesn’t compromise the...

Carmen Beckmann Mexican silver amethyst “daggers” Necklace

By in Mexican and Latin American, Necklaces |

One of the few female designers and silversmiths who contributed to Mexico’s 20th c. Silver Renaissance that we know about, Carmen Beckmann is reported in the literature to have worked primarily in the 1950s and 1960s in San Miguel de Allende. I am not sure if this is indeed the case, at least in terms of the dates when she was active and I only say this because many of the pieces by her that I have seen bore hallmarks that would indicate a pre-1948 date of crafting. This might be one of the fields many questions – hopefully further research will afford us some more concrete answers. The necklace I am presenting here, however, is a creation of the 1950s-60s as its Eagle assay mark proves. Rather rare and one of her most impressive designs, it is comprised of an unexpected combination: silver overlay links with deeply chased details and beading alternate with carved amethyst...

Ostern for David Andersen Norway silver Pendant Necklace ~ Ship of Good Fortune

By in Necklaces, US/European |

Modernist David Andersen sterling silver pendant accompanied by its matching, original D-A neck ring, this design was created for Andersen by Bjorn Ostern and it’s called the “ship of good fortune”. Highly stylized and adorned with a beautiful aventurine set at its very heart, this is one of my favorite Ostern creations and I can tell you that the duo sits perfectly around the neck and is equally comfortable to wear. Not to mention timelessly gorgeous…   Size/Weight: pendant is 2 1/8″ tall by 1 3/4″ wide; v-neck ring is 15″ inches (inner perimeter including the 1/2″ gap) yet it wears longer because of the way it sits and relatively adjustable; 34.0 grams (for the set; on a postal scale) Hallmarks / Date: both components fully hallmarked with Andersen’s logo as shown as well as “NORWAY STERLING” and “925S”;...

rare Carmen Beckmann Mexican silver stone “frogs” Necklace

By in Mexican and Latin American, Necklaces |

Sterling overlay and three-dimensional stone frogs turn this Carmen Beckmann necklace into a small sculpture gallery around the neck! One of the few known to us female contributors to Mexico’s 20th c. Silver Renaissance albeit active a little later than the beginnings of the big Mexico City and Taxco workshops, she was based in San Miguel de Allende in the 1950s and 1960s and that is where she created most of her jewelry. Quite often borrowing motifs from Spratling’s earlier pieces, Beckmann’s jewelry can be inspired when she is at her best or simply interesting. The “frogs” necklace with its animal links separated by all-silver pre-Colombian floral stations is one of her most coveted creations. Patina, the stone’s soothing greens, the hand-made quality of the chain and the minimalist rendition of flora and fauna combine in a necklace that...