Understanding Mexican Silver Jewelry
Mexican silver jewelry draws from both the Spanish and pre-Hispanic cultures such as the Mayans and the Mixtecs-Zapotecs. Readily available across the United States, many tourists to Mexico purchase several pieces to keep as mementos of their vacations in Mexico.
Mexican designs are influenced by many things. Mexican silversmiths often create artistic pieces with whimsical animals, native designs and other unique patterns.
Silver jewelry made in Mexico prior to 1948 is termed “Pre-Eagle”. Silver workers and jewelry makers in Mexico put an intense amount of thought, creativity, and effort into their work, and are fiercely proud of what they produce.
Mexico has a long history of beautiful and inventive jewelry designs in sterling silver. The center of the Mexican silver industry is Taxco, in the state of Guerrero. While beautiful silver jewelry is also produced in other areas, such as Mexico City, Guadalajara and Cuernavaca, Taxco is the most noted.
Beginning in the 1930’s, a number of designers established shops in Taxco, became well-known for the innovative silver designs, and revitalized the industry.
As many Mexican jewelry makers do not sign their work, or use only initials, the designation “Taxco” is often treated as a hallmark of quality.
Jewelry made in Mexico often incorporates precious and semi-precious stones and shells, either inlaid or set as cabochons in plain bezels. Most, but not all, Mexican silver jewelry is marked for silver content.
With the wide variety of styles available it’s easy to find a quality piece that you will love to wear.
Although sterling silver is normally marked with the symbol 925 meaning it is 92.5% actual silver you will sometimes find pieces bearing the designation “950” or “980”, indicating a purity greater than that of sterling.
Sterling designs seems to be steadily coming in style all over again. From 1948-1980, Mexican silversmiths used an ‘eagle mark’ along with other markings, letters, names and logos.
Mexico has some of the richest deposits on silver in the world, and Mexican silver jewelry has thus found its ways all over the world in the last several centuries.
Mexico has a long history of beautiful and inventive jewelry designs in sterling silver. Within Mexico, artist colonies arose which produced enormously influential silver jewelry from the 1930’s through the 1950s. There are 3 cities in Mexico where silver jewelry is manufactured: Mexico City, Guadalajara and Taxco. Taxco is located to north of the state of Guerrero, two hours away from Mexico City by car.
Taxco is home to some of the best silver artisans in the world, and Taxco silver jewelry is renowned for its impressive craftsmanship, imagination, and design.
Taxco silver is handmade into a limitless number of styles, from ethnic to urban, simple to complex, bold to delicate. Taxco has hundreds of internationally recognized silversmiths. TAXCO which is a registration system which combines letters and numbers.
Quality handmade silver jewelry is sold in the streets, in the markets, and in hundreds of specialty shops.
Mexican Silver Marks
The following are some of the more common hallmarks you’ll find in mexican silver jewelry: (all may or may not be followed by the maker’s mark)
- 958 or 958 Mexico
- Taxco, Taxco Mexico 925, Taxco 925
- Mexico Sterling
- 940, 950, 960, 970, 980
- 925, 925 with Eagle assay mark
Mexico designs some of the most unique, creative, and intricately worked silver jewelry in the world. A resurgence of silver jewelry seems to be steadily coming in style all over again.
I hope you’ve found this article helpful, click here to exit Mexican Silver Jewelry page and learn about cleaning your silver jewelry.
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