The famed white metal that has stirred cross-Atlantic frenzies for centuries has been tamed into a gorgeous craft for even longer in the southeastern state of Guerrero, more specifically the silver mining town of Taxco. The region’s first inhabitants, olmecas (2500 BCE–200 CE) boasted mines and silversmiths, with some towns fabricating silver for Aztec tributes. When Taxco was founded in 1529, locals melded their silverwork with that of the Spaniards in order to produce religious and practical silverwork demanded by colonialism.
Taxco’s silversmiths continued outdoing themselves in the 19th century, fabricating service sets, plates, jars, and silverware for Mexico’s most prominent families. Some of the most notable silver masters, since 1850, were Don Paz Domínguez and his children, and Don Melitón Gómez Rogel. U.S. architect William Spratling propelled silver production to the avant-garde after deciding to settle in Taxco in 1926. His workshop was called Las Delicias, where Mexican masters trained both Spratling and new silversmiths. The enterprise grew from selling silver jewelry to tourists stopping in Taxco on their way to Mexico City or Acapulco, to an internationally-recognized artistic hotspot. Silversmiths use techniques such as repoussé (hammering on the reverse of the silver to form convex shapes) or chasing (hammering and shaping to create indentations).
Much of the Taxco style so characteristic of the region today is a rich mixture of pre-Columbian Olmec techniques and designs, Spratling’s designs, and Guerrero’s own silver masters. Every unique piece glows with the traditional heft and detailed deftness of expert Mexican silversmithing. From earrings to cuffs, you’ll be wearing an adornment that is both a statement and a message, a gorgeous addition to day or evening wear as well as an heirloom for future generations to come.
Sources include: www.enciclopediagro.org MEDIATECA GUERRERO