Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Amigos del Arte Popular

Los Amigos del Arte Popular is a group that seriously loves Mexican art in all its forms and aesthetics. I met one of the members by chance at an exhibit - she was an older woman that traveled frequently to Mexico with Los Amigos. I love that in addition to their careful research they also have preservation goals for many of the art forms.

Their website is a virtual museum that you can visit and enter...I thought that was cool. Here is their web address:

Here is a small excerpt from their website on one of my favorite topics....
Filigree jewelry produced in Oaxaca may also feature carved leaves and flowers in different gold colors, which are attached to a gold filigree framework to which pearls are added to accent the design. [Insert Oaxaca gold earrings comp] In the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and Juchitán, the filigree is embellished with gold coins that were either Mexican or American in origin.

Native women from the town of Yalalag in Oaxaca wear a distinctive Yalalag cross necklace. The Yalalag cross may be in either gold or silver and features a large central cross and three smaller crosses which dangle beneath the large cross.

The origin of the cross is attributed to the Dominican order who settled in this area of Mexico. The design is thought to be from Salamanca, Spain and was copied by an indigenous metalsmith, which, over time, assumed a distinctive Mexican character. Young women from the village of Yalalag wear earrings prior to marriage and when married begin to wear the cross necklace.

Currently, artisans producing jewelry in the traditional manner have felt pressure from overseas. Much of the jewelry sold in Oaxaca currently is produced in China. To preserve this art, value must be assigned to the craft and the time required for production of jewelry in this style. It is our hope that this generation and others to come will seek out traditional Oaxacan jewelry to keep this beautiful art alive and flourishing.

Informational sources:
The reference for the pre-Hispanic jewelry came from "Mexican Folk Art from Oaxacan Artist Families" (2007) by Rothstein and Rothstein, page 172. Filigree jewelry reference: "Mexican Jewelry" by Pack and Davis, pages 111-112. Yalalag cross reference: "Artes de Mexico: Alhajas Mexicanos" No.165, Ano XX, page 87. White sapphire style jewelry reference: "Mexican Folk Art by Oaxacan Artist Families" (2007) by Rothstein and Rothstein, pages 170-171.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


OK so you saw my post in late July about the release of the NEW MARGOT DE TAXCO BOOK.
So I just received word that the release has been DELAYED.

new delivery estimate based on the new release date:

Penny C. Morrill "Margot Van Voorhies The Art of Mexican Enameled Jewelry"
Estimated arrival date: November 08 2010 - November 15 2010

Ugh!! I hope its because they added a few new fabulous pics or because Penny decided to personally sign all her books - My inscription would read:

To Tia Gema, Thank you and keep up with your fabulous collection.
Regards, Penny:p

Friday, September 24, 2010

Desperate Housewives!

Have you seen the new ad for the upcoming Desperate Housewives ad?!?!
- its Vanessa Willams with a stunning TAXCO LOS CASTILLO clamper bracelet...
I mean its only like 10 or 15 seconds that you see the bracelet...but you gotta admit...its soooo hawt.

Ck out the video clip on YouTube:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Maza-What?? Mazahua Jewelry - Yeah Baby!!

OK - so I had to Wiki the Mazahua people and here is what I found:

The Mazahua are an indigenous people of Mexico, inhabiting the northwestern portion of the State of Mexico and northeastern area of Michoacán, with a presence also in the Federal District owing to recent migration. The largest concentration of Mazahua is found in the municipalities of San Felipe del Progreso and San José del Rincón, both in Mexico state (Estado de México), near Toluca.

The word Mazahua is of Nahuatl origin meaning "the owners of deer", probably referring to the rich fauna of the mountainous region inhabited by the Mazahua. However they refer to themselves as Hñatho.

So you've been looking for hawt Oaxacan Earrings by Federico Jimenez (mine broke BTW) at a more affordable price?? Well, arent you in luck?!

These are Mazahua earrings - I thought they were Oaxacan Ha! Actually, the website
is pretty cool and you dont have to pay the middleman price - it looks easy with PayPal checkout...how cool is that?
Its a community of artisans that work in the old style....


Wear it, Enjoy it, Love It

Donde Esta Mazahua - Aqui Esta - -

Ken Beldin - - More

So I did more research on the most elusive Mr. Beldin - Here is a sample of his work - sometimes referred to as a 'Tiki' - I also posted the back with his engraved signature. Tho I have also seen his pieces STAMPED Beldin (not engraved).

This particular piece is currently available on the 20th Century Obsession website and is listed for $275.

The article n pic noted below showed up in the LA Mirror in 2007. Tho it appeared that the article itself was written in the late 1950's.
On the matter of Kenneth Beldin, I don't have to check. Years ago I met this man. To the end of my days I will never forget him.

He is tall, very gaunt and not unlike movie character Mischa Auer. His face always had the look of a man tortured or consumed by inner powers telling him to go out into the wilds and look for something.

I first met him around 1939. At the time I was employed by the National Railways of Mexico in Mexico City. Desk and field job interpreting for visiting Americans.

He had been hired by the railway to cook up suitable travel brochures which would help attract more turistas from the Eastern Seaboard, then considered lush territory.

So he was hired. Overnight he disappeared from sight. For days none of his acquaintances or bosses heard anything about Beldin. Police were alerted. The American Consulate as well.

Nearly two weeks later he popped up sporting a beard about the same size as that which now hangs from Ernest Hemingway.

His complexion, originally a pale tan, had turned yellowish. His cheekbones seemed to have increased in bulk and the man's light brown eyes were crisscrossed with countless little red veins.

Kenneth Beldin, the writer-researcher, had done what few brochure writers ever do when amassing material for their travel pitches. He had actually thrown caution to the winds and set up shop in the gosh-darndest villages in the state of Guerrero, where civilization was something the dwellers wanted no part of.

And to complete the job of going native, not only had he picked up Spanish but also a good smattering of Zapotec dialects.

Indians, to Beldin, were the most fascinating thing in life. For hours he would sit on his veranda talking to them, trying to solve their inscrutability and making every effort to be liked by them.

His obsession was to prove, beyond a single scientific doubt, that Mexican Indians had settled in Mexico after centuries of migration from the Orient.

Now married to an Indian maiden named Xochitl, Kenneth Beldin has earned for himself a niche that weighs--and then some. Recently the official organ of the medical profession in Mexico told this:

"Scientists from the U.S. and other countries travel to exchange ideas with him (Beldin). He has the undying gratitude of generations of children in our nation. He will go down in history as "The Apostle of Sesame Meal.' "

Facebook: LADailyMirror

Los Castillo

My fellow bloggers - I need your assistance. I would like to know if you have seen or heard of any MIXED MEDIA FRAMED PICTURES by Los Castillo.
No, not the DIVORCED METALS or MARRIED METALS - See my pics - glass millifori beads.
Nicely marked by Los Castillo. I have never seen such work. Have You??
Would appreciate any info you might have - - BTW, yes I googled it and nada.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mexican Silver Fellow Blogger

I 'borrowed' this post cuz I wanted to share with you...
Its from I Love Mexican Silver blog that I featured sometime back....

Got a thousand bucks?

That’s the starting bid for Lot 255, a Margot de Taxco Zodiac Bracelet to be auctioned by Cowan’s Auctions, Inc. on September 10th.

I wonder how much it will go for...

Here is the blogspot-

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Christie Romero - One Year Later

I just saw this on the Center for Jewelry Studies page - I cannot believe its been a year already. The website has established a very nice page for visitors to enter comments and thoughts about Christy. There is also a Memorial Scholarship Fund to attend a 4-day Jewelery Camp.
How cool is that?
Christie Romero is best known as a jewelry historian, consultant, gemologist and instructor of antique and period jewelry. She has been teaching classes in Southern California since 1988. Christie has authored three publications of Warman's Jewelry, published by Krause Publications and the Collector's Timeline.

Visit the Centers website at:

I was lucky enough to meet Christy at the Maestros Exhibit in San Antonio. It was wonderful - she knew everybody - or everybody knew her! I also miss her on Antiques Roadshow.

Memorial donations may be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network; for more information go to pancan.org.

Felipe Barbosa - New Designer Not Taxco

yeah yeah so its not Taxco - but this guys designs are super cool and in the old designs from the past with twists for today (See La Catrina).
I found his pieces for sale on the Lush Life website - Leave it to Erik for the cool stuff. Erik notes that Mr. Barbosa is from San Miguel de Allende, in Guanajuato - kinda far from Taxco, Guerrero.

Interestingly, the pins or brooches also have a compartment for remembering loved ones - also referred to as reliquaries or recalarios in Espanol. This style is so very Victorian or turn of the century. Usually, the hair of a deceased loved one is placed inside...

Now in another posting about the Patzcuaro pin I noted that it was silvertone. The seller took me to task (see Comments) about my notation. I did have the opportunity to see and handle the Patzcuaro silvertone brooch - And I have to say, it was well made - nice and heavy. For the price, it was very nice.

Mr. Barbosa also executes his pieces in Silvertone...I would also expect them to be well made and should also wear well. I will keep an eye out for his items...I loved them...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Taxco Silver Magazine 1968

I was taken by the cover of this 1968 book slash magazine. Its wonderful silverwork that looked baroque or turn of the century...

I just got this book and because it was 1968 I thought it would include all of the top and noted silversmiths from Taxco...instead only one silvershop was prominently featured: Los Castillo. Dont get me wrong - I love Los Castillo. But in 1968, I would have thought that other silvershops would have been buzzing with activity.

Its a good reference book for those interested in Los Castillo and Taxco.