Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Los Castillo Pectoral Necklaces

I thought I would share some exquisite, yet super hard to find, Los Castillo Pectoral neclaces. These are typically pictured in any of the Big Books of Mexican Silver...most gracing the neclace of the author (Penny Morrill).
These necklaces have exceptional repousee work and are marked with an added circle tag with Los Castillo marks and design number. Usually, there is no backing, so the repousee work is easy to see. Some pieces, however, do have a backing. Despite this, their size they are deciptively light weight. One of the hallmarks of good workmanship.

I was able to acquire the Los Castillo Pectoral pictured above - I found a pic on Worthpoint archives where their description includes this piece selling for over $4k - In a good economy, that could even be true - Today though, I was able to acquire it for much less.

These I found on the Maestros de Taxco where it was POR or Price on Request - which you know I believe translates into over $3-4,000 and the Silver Huntress which listed their piece at a reasonable $2,200.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

SIGI Mixed Media Plaque

Super hard to find at a good price Modernist Sigi Plaque.
The only draw back on these is that they are sooooo heavy (like 10 lbs.) that I always think the piece and or the wall on which it is hanging must be reinforced due to the weight factor.

There are smaller plaques but the full effect of the modernist piece could be lost or go unnoticed.

I got one some years ago at a super cheap price - and I ignorantly traded it for another piece. Mostly because I couldnt hang it due to the weight - So I would lean it against the wall. So since then, I dont trade and I have been looking to replace my super-modernist Sigi Plaque...and here it is. I havent seen it upclose and personal, but it looks like it might need a little buffing - like someone shoved in the closet against some stuff and got a bit scratchy...no big deal. Its a good price for this 20in by 10 in piece of art work by this artist...yay!

Saturday, December 25, 2010


This item just popped up on ebay. Here is the sellers description:

In all my years of collecting vintage Mexican Silver, I've never, ever found a piece marked by hard-to-find maker, Dia Diodato. And this puzzle/buckle bracelet is a true rarity indeed, vintage -- circa 1945. This is called a puzzle/buckle bracelet due to the unique way in which it clasps; if you don't know the trick, you won't be able to open it! The slide portion of the buckle set flips open which then allows you to move the tongue of the bracelet away from the prong that slips through one of the two open holes. Unique!

The other feature that makes this bracelet very unique is that the taller hand rivets two narrow, curved bars of rosewood along the sides of the bracelet, using a design/material motif that William Spratling also used. The bracelet is pin hinged in three places and all work very smoothly. A nice piece, a rare maker!

Hallmark: Dia Diodato Taxco Mexico 925


So I have to concur, in all my years of collecting, this is the first time I have seen this designer. When I did some quick checking I found nothing except for the name pop up on Sterling Hallmark pages.

The belt buckle design bracelet never did much for me tho - it seems every other designer was doing it too....So I ususally dont reach for it when I am shopping...Maybe now I will be more inclined to (tho I doubt it)...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Authentic or Reproduction Antonio

By request, I thought I would list a couple items listed on ebay that - to me - are questionable. Here is my opinion on 4 alleged Authentic Antonio Pineda - 3 bracelets and a necklace.
Above, is the necklace with an opening bid of $800. A similar necklace from about a year ago closed at around $3,000 - I remember cuz I was a low bidder - tho it was a bit over my little budget...
All four pieces do have the 970, Antonio crown mark, spread eagle with 17.
Now check all four items for a YY or ZZ mark on any of these items. There are absent, not there, missing.
Antonio also usually had design numbers on his pieces as well. Also, not present.

Now the mark pictured above with the eagle looks a bit hinkey to me...too wingy or something.
Additionally, one of the item location is Thailand - the others are in Paris...same seller. When I looked at the sellers feed back about a week ago, it was zero. Now its over 50.

When I first these pieces I was impressed but on closer examination, I'm not that sure. Now, I havent seen them and not handled them and I could be dead wrong. But this time around I probably wont be pulling out my ebay charge card...
Shop carefully and compare markings.

Here is what I think is good or authentic mark - note the YY and partial design number - this is from the Cross pendant necklace with moonstone hanging from velevet cord.

Brass Handmade Mexican

I see these every once in awhile...This one is currently on ebay BIN @ $49.
Handmade, kinda Brutalist in design brass/copper jewelry from Mexico - I dont think from Taxco but not sure. Acapulco more likely, since its closer to the Pal Kapeyne (sp?) who had a workshop just outside.
This pictured cuff bracelet looks like late 80's and 90's to me.
The jewelry pieces from this design era just scream Mexican-made -
I think you can tell just from the workmanship - and they were trying so hard.

American brutalist came about 2 decades earlier - The 60's and 70's. Also sometimes referred to as Hippie Jewelry.
Smaller in size, using the same or similar material of primarily Brass, you can clearly see their prefered design choice of organic mimimalist. American made brutalist period is my preferred brass jewelry pieces when I am spending my hard earned cash. The pieces were well crafted with attention to detail. I have yet to see any signed pieces but there is one designer that has a distinct design detail - he adds a cube somewhere in his jewelry. I happen to see and purchase a small cuff bracelet - I got it cuz of the cube. Who knew?! Sadly I cannot recall his name and God forbid they would have a signed any of their jewelry....

Having compared Mexican and American brutalist, noting my preference for American, I do have to note that one of my earlier posts referenced early Mexican Folk jewelry made from copper and brass. Because its clearly Folk Jewelry I would not refer to it as brutalist. Their only commonality is the material used.
Love Love Love Mexican Folk Jewelry - mostly the ingenuity at using readily available raw materials - yeah, the coins in their pockets and jars...

I am looking forward to a good reference book on Brutalist Brutish Brusque Very Affordable Jewelry.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Yeah its delayed AGAIN....
Well, I guess that its better than canceled and returning my $$$....So Amazon said late December. You know, now I just dont believe 'em. I will just wait til its in my mailbox or delivered....sigh.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

SPRATLING Necklace Hands Holding Flowers

Iconic Spratling design of Hands Holding Flowers in carved amethyst.
This particular piece seems to have been separated from its original chain. The necklace like this I have seen has nicely designed hidden hook closures at each end. Which might explain why this one is missing.
The 'chain' is really composed of three separate strands of one inch sterling silver hollow beads. Very cool.
Kid can U please confirm you still have this necklace??
My kid loves to wear it to the grocery store...LOL There's no better place for Spraling...

Los Castillo Holloware -

Super cool modernist design with images of people holding up the bowl.
See the marks for the Los Castillo mark of TA-01 registered to the workshop.
Most of the bowls and such I have seen are silver plated. This one is marked as sterling. Currently on ebay with a reserve of who knows what. The current bid is pretty low so we will have to ck on it later - - -