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Mexican Silver

Jewelry and Metalwork from Taxco, Mexico

Silversmithing has been practiced for centuries in Mexico. Historically speaking, the Navajo of the Southwestern United States learned their trade from Mexicans. Interestingly enough, an American named William Spratling took the craft to entirely new level. He did this in 1931, when he established a retail outlet for Mexican jewelry near the silver-mining center of Taxco.

Spratling and his contemporaries borrowed liberally from pre-Columbian imagery for their designs. They found some designs on Mexico’s pyramids and lifted others from the 14th-century symbols that fill the Codex Zouche-Nuttal. Essentially, this made it "open-source material." It shouldn’t be too surprising that these shops succeeded and borrowed liberally from one-another.

Some competitors were actively encouraged. The Taxco School, as it is known today, was formed largely from former Spratling employees such as the Castillo brothers, Héctor Aguilar, Antonio Pineda, and Valentin Viadurreta, who brought a Mexican eye to Art Deco. Naturally, these artisans and their shops became incubators for still more generations of silversmiths.

Secondary Material:
Total items in collection: 408. Total items on page 10

Image Item Secondary Material Maker Type Primary Material Catalog ID MarketData ID
Star Necklace Abalone Spratling Necklace Spratling Silver (980) 1029 H:$826.53 32600
Fish Earrings Abalone Spratling Earrings Sterling Silver 1036 H:$139.42 80207
Abalone Waves Necklace Abalone Spratling Necklace Spratling Silver (980) 1037 H:$826.53 80208
Fish Pin Abalone Spratling Brooch Spratling Silver (980) 1038 H:$271.21 80209
Abalone Fish Bracelet Abalone Los Castillo Bracelet Sterling Silver 2042 H:$175.92 94153
Abalone Brooch Abalone Jose Anton Brooch Sterling Silver 10019 H:$32.49 80238
Abalone Pendant Abalone Jose Anton Necklace Sterling Silver 10029 80248
Mask Pendant Abalone Jose Anton Necklace Sterling Silver 10031 80249
Abalone Bracelet Abalone Los Ballesteros Bracelet Sterling Silver 11004 H:$138.22 26906
Abalone Earrings Abalone Los Ballesteros Earrings Sterling Silver 11005 E:$59.99 H:$93.76 26907