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Los Ballesteros Mexican silver sunburst Pendant Necklace with sapphire

By in Mexican and Latin American, Necklaces |

When it comes to impressive pendant necklaces with a distinct “ethnic” twist, the Los Ballesteros signature is what one has to look for within the field of vintage Mexican silver. Their designs are amazing not just for their proportions but also for their quality of materials and impeccable craftsmanship. This sunburst example with color-change sapphire (synthetic corundum) hanging off the hand-made sterling chain of the same vintage I have had several times in the past but I never tire of it. There are always small variations, in size, in the choice of gemstone, in the decision on whether to adorn the bail or not. Yet the result is always fabulous – and therein lies the workshop’s caliber…   Size / Weight:¬†pendant is 2 7/8″ in diameter (without the bail); with the bail it adds a 3 3/4″ drop to the chain; chain itself is 28″ long;...

Mexican silver and color-change sapphire Dangle Earrings ~ Ledesma neo-Aztec design

By in Mexican and Latin American, Rings/earrings |

Based on a neo-Aztec design created by the modernist genius of Enrique Ledesma this set of long dangle earrings is not signed for maker but is beautifully articulated and carefully finished. I am sure it was made by one of Ledesma’s Taxco contemporaries; both the weight and the fact that the screw-back findings (and only those) are made of alpaca indicates to me that the set did not come out of the renowned designer’s workshop. This having been said, I can assure you that the earrings are masterfully crafted, with careful oxidation in the shadowbox stations, immaculate little beads accenting them, show-casing two big, prong-set synthetic sapphires that change color under different light conditions thus mimicking the behavior of alexandrites… ¬† Size/Weight: 2 1/8″ long by 7/8″ wide; 12.9 grams (for the set) Hallmarks / Date: not signed for maker nor...

1950s Nestor Mexican silver and color-change sapphire Necklace

By in archived |

A listed early Taxco maestro who kept creating jewelry in the post-1948 period Nestor was not as prolific as some of his contemporaries yet his work was always of very high quality as were the materials that he used. During his career he tried his hand at several styles and techniques and some of his pieces are truly eye-catching. In the necklace presented here he seems to venture into the design universe of Margot de Taxco and the Los Castillo. Beading, cutwork, oxidation and hand-chased details combine in this complex sterling central station accented by a big, crown-set color changing corundum (synthetic sapphire). The gem is faceted, changes color from deep amethyst to a steely purple under different light conditions and it is a treat for the eyes. Last but not least, the links forming the chain are riveted to each other which bespeaks the necklace’s quality…  ...

Ledesma style Mexican silver modernist Bracelet ~ niello and color-change sapphire

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Copying the style associated with Enrique Ledesma this mid-century modernist Mexican silver bracelet is signed by a listed yet still unidentified contemporary of the famous Taxco designer. The juxtaposition of highly oxidized and polished silver surfaces characteristic of the style is dramatic and eye-catching and here it finds itself in contrast to the saturated color of the faceted synthetic sapphire. Mimicking the behavior of alexandrites, the gem changes from deep purple to steely amethyst under different light conditions while the sterling ring around it reflects and enhances the effect…   Size/Weight: 6 3/4″ inner circumference (clasped); width between 1 3/16″ and 1/2″; 38.7 grams Hallmarks / Date: maker’s initials “MMC” as well as “TAXCO MEXICO 925” and Eagle 3 assay mark; 1950s-60s Condition: very good vintage with the...