Much of the
jewellery that one sees for sale in Mexico is made in Taxco, Guerrero.
It is a famous silver town and has been for many years. Unhappily
though, very little of the current work made there is traditional in any
sense, much of it designed for tourist shops. Aside from not having
a good sense of traditions, tourists often bargain prices down much too
low so that quality has to be abandoned to meet the ability to still sell
For those reasons I do not
buy in Taxco but search in small communities for well made traditional
jewellery typical of those regions. I was overjoyed to find this
work made in the State of Mexico, in the area of Toluca, outside of Mexico
This work is much like that
of the eighteenth century, just as wearable now as it was then...
I have seen similar pieces in museums such as the museum of anthropology
(el Museo Nacional de Antropología) in Chapultepec Park, Mexico
D.F., and the museum of popular culture from the area (Museo de la Cultura
Potosina) in San Luis Potosí.
This is all made with excellent
skills and will last you a lifetime. None of these items are cast
or made factory style. Each pendant and piece is cut by hand, filed,
sanded, and polished. The lines are stamped into the pieces and they
are hammered to give them shape. The soldering is painstaking as
it is done in steps. The jeweller begins with the solder that melts
at the highest temperature. The next pieces to be fixed together
will use a solder at a lower temperature. The jeweller has to take
great care to keep his flame at a low enough temperature that he doesn't
melt what has already been worked on. Step by step, it is all time
consuming and finished just perfectly in this work.
Most of the jewellery that
we buy in our shops at home is assembly work - item after item, each exactly
the same as the one before - factory made - to keep prices low. This
is art from a jeweller's table, more appropriate to the shop of a fine
The earrings have wires
slipping into the ears with hooks at the back to lock the wires into place
so that you cannot accidentally lose them... and all of the work
is sterling grade.
photography of the work does not show it in the best way. Do be
assured that it all looks better in real life... now enjoy seeing
images of the traditions that have been carried on for hundreds of
MEX-03. All of the earrings shown here look a great deal better
in real life than in the photos. I haven't managed to discover a
way to capture their allure in the images. Earrings #6 are
2 3/8 inches long, have stamped dangles, and pale yellow facet glass stones
acting as flowers with two tiny leaves next to each. The dangles
flick nicely when ones head is moved. $105.US.
Earrings #7 are long (over 3 inches) and elegant. The tiny wires
in the design have each been placed in their positions by hand and soldered
carefully. This is much more work than you might realize.
$115.US. (#7 is available)
MEX-05. These earrings are small and delicate,
with the first three featuring pairs of birds facing each other.
The birds are just over 5/8 inch across. Earrings #10 have the simplicity
of just the birds. $38.US. Earrings #11 have small
dangles hanging from the birds. $45.US.
(#10 & #11 are available)
MEX-07. Here are some wide and graceful earrings, sure to be
eye-catchers just as the ones which Frida Kahlo and others wore.
They realized the beauty and wonder of their own cultures and loved to
demonstrate it. Earrings #19 are more floral lace than they
are anything else. Each one has a bird darting for flowers.
The earrings are 2 1/4 inches tall. $125.US. Earrings
#20 are more solid and heavier, with two moveable slices in each one.
The birds are very three dimensional as they are portrayed in the back
as well as in the front. In the front they have a green facet glass
cabachon between them as well as rich red cabochons on each side.
$170.US. (#20 is sold) The most intricate of the three is this last pair
#21. They measure 2 1/2 inches in height and were very labour intensive
to create. The birds kiss as an explosion of silver radiates beneath.
I have worked in silver but have never had the patience or the skill to
create anything this complex. $245.US. (earrings #21 are available)
MEX-11. This is the most complex of the necklaces that I have
bought. I kept looking at it, and in the end, found it irresistable.
The chain is detailed with each section made by hand and it attaches to
a series of flowers, four of them emphasized with pinkish red glass facet
stones. Everything is hinged so that it moves as things in nature
do. There are four little butterflies around the flowers and a large
lacy one hanging below. It is quite wonderful with hanging leaves
attached as well. The entire piece circles 23 inches across on the
inside. This is expensive, but I think you may never see another...
MEX-12. I tried this pin out on a black tank top that I have with
a fine set of pleats at the front. I pinned it right there, and it
looked just amazing. The pin is 2 1/4 inches across, and of course
a complex group of pieces all soldered together to make one intricate oval.
MEX-13. There are always wonderful pieces from these jewellers
bringing along the poetic aspects in the Latin world. Pendant
#1 is 2 1/8 inches tall, graceful and lovely with two birds settled on
a flower studded heart, with a swinging pendant hanging beneath.
$75.US. Pendant #2 is a small pair of birds nestled together.
The pin measures 1 1/4 inches across and costs $45.US.
Pendant #3 hangs nicely in real life. I didn't realize that it got
moved a little when I took the photograph. The piece is 1 3/4 inches
tall, has a pair of birds and a flower studded heart. $75.US.
Pendant #4 is a large pair of birds sitting on a flowered branch.
They are charming as usual. $110.US.
(#2 & #4 are available)
MEX-24. This is a light and colourful pair of earrings
decorated with pairs of birds, beaks together. The earrings are 1
1/4 inches tall and decorated with red and green facet glass stones.
MEX-26. There are two bird pins here. The larger
one is 1 1/2 inches long from beak to tail ($48.US) and the smaller one
is 1 1/4 inches long ($38.US).
These are tiny silver earrings each with a pair of birds sitting at the
top of a flowered heart. They are 1 1/16 inches tall.
$58.US. (I have one pair remaining)
MEX-30. These two pairs of birds are sweet and romantic
and make a lovely gift of love. The small silver pin (1 1/4 inch
across) is $42.US. and the large siver pin (2 3/16 inch across) is
MEX-31. This is a beautiful long (2 3/4 inches from top
of earhook to bottom of pendant) pair or sterling silver earrings wired
with natural pearls. They are typical, complex and stunning when
MEX-32. These earrings are 2 1/8 inches tall and swing
nicely with pearls. I think on the photo I took the pic when one
pearl was swung away - but there are four attractive natural pearls
hanging from each side. The bottom part of the earring swings
nicely back and forth when moving. $78.US.
MEX-33. These earrings are 2 1/4 inches tall from top of
earhook to bottom of pendants. The half moon shape swings nicely
when moving. the earrings, because they are made of wire are
fairly lightweight so comfortable on. I always forget that I am
wearing earrings at all when I wear this style. $70.US.
MEX-39. These silver earrings are 2 1/8 inches tall.
The pendant part swings gracefully from a loop behind the flower.
MEX-45. Earrings #1 are shaped like a sleeping moon.
They are 1 1/4 inches tall. $35.US. Earrings #2
feature kissing birds and glass stones of blue and red. They are
very sweet and 1 5/16 inches tall. $65.US. I am
sorry I didn't have this pin listed for Valentine's day but it is
certainly one that speaks of love at any time. The birds have
their beaks together hidden behind a flower sitting over a heart shape.
A nice moon shape with dangles hangs below. The pin is 2
3/8 inches tall. $65.US.
MEX-48. The corazon earrings are just perfect. The
heart with flames stands 1 inch tall and if you include the hanging
loop it is just over 1 1/4 inches. $65.US.
This is a sweet sirena silver necklace with a male and a female
mermaid sitting together. The hammered and etched pendant is 2
1/2 inches tall, and the 25 inch long hand made chain is 25 inches
long. It hooks shut. I haven't had one of these for a few
years, they are very difficult to come across. $230.US.
MEX-51. I haven't seen this style of ring for sale in
Mexico before. It is two hands holding each other, or shaking
hands, with floral decorations around. The design was carved into
the silver so each ring that the jeweller made was different.
This is my last one of this style. Size 8. $80.US.
MEX-52. These earrings are just under 1 3/4 inches from top
to bottom and are brightened (they are brighter in real life) with
purple and pink facet glass stones. $105.US.
MEX-53. These gorgeous traditional earrings are 2 inches from top to bottom. $180.US.
MEX-54. These complex and delicate earrings are 1 1/2 inches tall. $100.US.
MEX-55. This pair of earrings was also designed by Victor
Fosado Vazquez. They are 2 1/2 inches from top to bottom and have
small coral beads as accents. $95.US. (sold)
I have some silverwork below from Tlaxco in the state of Tlaxcala not far from Mexico City... a jeweller named Eva Menendez teaches traditional work to her students, and produces her own designs as well.
Tlaxco05. These earrings are typical of the Tlaxcala area
and similar ones can be seen in their museum. They have a light
patterning on the cast pieces giving them a very nice texture. I
have 3 pairs. They measure a little over 1 1/4 inches across.
They have a very contemporary look to them. $55.US.
Tlaxco07. Spiders are a symbol of Tocatlan and make great
little earrings. They are 1 1/16 inches wide and just slip in...
Tlaxco08. These earrings are just under 1 1/4 inch across. $55.US.
Tlaxco11. These pins are symbols of Quiahuiztlan, one of
the four states that made up the federation of Tlaxcala in the pre-Columbian Nahua state.
They depict various symbolic parts of life, the feathered hat for
dances, the shield and sword for protection, etc. The images are
taken from the Aztec codices. $48.US/each pin.
Tlaxco12. These pendants are post Spanish symbols in the
state of Tlaxcala. The city of Tlaxcala itself was founded by
Cortes and he gained a military alliance with the people who had lived
there before he arrived. $48.US/each pendant.
Tlaxco13. This rectangular pendant is a symbol of Tlaxco
derived from ancient images. It is a shape of a stone with much
importance. The pendants are just under 1 1/8 inch across at the
widest. $18.US/each pendant
to Mexico Introduction page
to "Contents" page
.....Eastern beads and ornaments
.....African trade beads
.....the Americas including preColumbian
.....Modern copies of ancient objects
.....Odds and ends