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William Spratling Mexican silver North Star Pendant Necklace with azur malachite

By in Mexican and Latin American, Necklaces |

Part of his so-called “Alaska period”, the “North Star” pendant necklace is one of my favorites by William Spratling. It definitely helps that I am very partial to the form but the fact that he combined silver with stone inlay in this case as well as the architecturality of the star itself place this piece above and beyond – at least for me… This is a well-loved, thoroughly enjoyed necklace in its long life and it developed a lovely patina over the years. The azur-malachite is in very good shape with the usual tight fissures here and there but it’s all in place and the color is beautiful. I am accompanying it with a sterling extension of the same period yet by a different maker to give the necklace some extra length that makes it wearable for most of us. It is a great match and its addition does not compromise the integrity of the Spratling...

rare Carmen Beckmann Mexican mixed metals and ancient clay mask Pendant Necklace

By in Mexican and Latin American, Necklaces |

I love vintage Mexican silver jewelry that incorporate ancient artifacts in them and even though I don’t have the expertise to identify them as Aztec or Maya or belonging to any of the other Mesoamerican civilizations, I am thrilled to present here a very rare Carmen Beckmann mixed metals figural pendant which belongs in that category. I am used to similar pieces bearing the signature of the Los Castillo or Victoria (Ana Nunez de Brilanti, that is). I have even had a couple of anonymous examples yet I would not have expected one with Beckmann’s signature. Yet here it is, beautifully modernist – even edgy, I would say – fluidly articulated, combining sterling and copper with an ancient clay mask head and two beads in lieu of hands…   Size/Weight: pendant is  3  3/4” tall by 2” wide (at its widest); chain is 17″ long; 57.4 grams Hallmarks / Date:...

rare Margot de Taxco Mexican silver and quartz Necklace in a Danish mod design

By in Mexican and Latin American, Necklaces |

First up out of a rather rare Margot de Taxco mid-century mod sterling silver and quartz demi I recently acquired, this necklace is an ode to pink and all lovers thereof worldwide! Pink quartz is not the most common stone used in Taxco jewelry yet it was favorited by many of the Danish designers who featured it in their pieces in the 1950s and 1960s. In fact, to my eyes at least, Margot seems to have been heavily influenced here by her European counterparts. Simple yet strong geometry with concentric circles and straight angles is accented with minimal beading in the quartz links part while the chain consists of sturdy, thick sterling “o” rings. What I particularly love is the intense clouding in the stones that makes them look like round windows opening up onto pink cloudy skies and the robust sphere at one end of the hook-and-eye clasp… PS: As you can see in one of...

vintage Mexican Deco silver Necklace ~ Taxco shield and feathers design

By in Mexican and Latin American, Necklaces |

When I agreed to purchase this necklace, I was promised it was a Damaso Gallegos piece and I was excited to have found it. This is a beautiful necklace, with good weight and its “archeological” minimalism is very pleasing to the eye. I like to think of it as the “shield and feathers” design and both motifs have been used by Margot de Taxco and the Los Castillo as well. Yet upon inspection, when it arrived, I found out that it is in fact only tangentially associated with Gallegos, the necklace’s actual maker being another Taxco maestro who is known, like Damaso, for his Christmas “holly and bells” jewelry. The two signatures are similar yet for “JS”, our maker here, we only have initials to go by…   Size/Weight: 16 1/4″ long (wearable); feathers and shield part is 3 1/4″ long with a drop of 1 5/8″; 59.0 grams...

Los Castillo Mexican silver Necklace and Earrings set with dangles, sculptural des. no 788

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

A fabulous Los Castillo Mexican silver necklace and earrings set, des. no 788 is a sculptural beauty and a relatively early creation as is indicated by the low design number. Its perfectly formed rosettes, the three-dimensional dangles and its festoon links are, in my mind at least, derivatives of ancient Roman motifs. I could never exaggerate the elegance with which the necklace sits around the neck and the beguiling fleshiness of the generous earrings. This is a set that becomes a collection’s cornerstone and stays with its owner for a long long time…   Size/Weight: necklace is 16 1/8″ long (wearable; might even feel a little longer due to the curves in the festoon links); dangles part is 3 7/8″ wide with a drop of 1 1/2″; earrings are 1 5/8″ long by just a tad above 1/2″ wide; 83.4 grams (for the set; 69.3 grams for the necklace / 14.2 grams...

Mexican Deco silver and amethyst repousse starburst Necklace

By in Mexican and Latin American, Necklaces |

Beautifully made Mexican Deco sterling silver repousse necklace, its pendant shaped as a starburst with three big, teardrop amethysts, this is not a design that comes up very often. I would not be exaggerating if I said that the attention to detail and the level of craftsmanship evident here bespeak the anonymous maestro’s command over their art. Just note the graduated levels that form the starburst and the way the little silver sphere at the center of the chain links softens the austere geometry of the lozenge. The stones are open-backed to make the most of the light and the whole ensemble a pleasure to wear and to behold…   Size/Weight: 17″ long (wearable); starburst pendant is 2 3/4″ wide and adds a drop of 2 1/4″ to the chain; 41.2 grams Hallmarks / Date: not signed for maker (which baffles me!) but marked “STERLING MADE IN MEXICO” with...