Caroline's Jewelry with a Past is offering a sterling silver Los Castillo Mosaico Azteca brooch c. 1950-1965. This imposing piece features bright colored inlaid azurite and malachite pieces accented by silver edging in a spiral motif centered by a round button. The brooch is numbered #207. The piece has a safety closure. The brooch is 2-1/8" (round dimension). The brooch weighs 25.0 grams. The back is marked with "Los Castillo" + "Taxco" + "Made in Mexico" + "207" + Mosaica Azteca +925 + the Eagle Mark "15".
The Los Castillo workshop was founded in Taxco Mexico in 1939 by the Castillo brothers, Antonio, Coco and Chato, along with Antonio's wife Margot van Voorhies Carr (later Margot de Taxco), and their cousin Salvador Teran. The brothers worked for William Spratling during the 1930's. Margot did a number of the early Los Castillo designs until she left about 1949 to start her own business. Los Castillo is still in business and is the longest continuously operating silversmith in Taxco. Design and craftsmanship has always been a hallmark of the workshop. The Mosaico Azteca line was started about 1950 and continued through 1965. The method used to make this brooch was adapted from Aztec techniques. It is created from a silver base with raised contours outlining the design. The stone is then inlayed in the silver. Since this technique requires a precise and expert craftsman and because the stone inlay is relatively thin and brittle, the pieces were expensive and time consuming to produce. The malachite/ azurite inlay features muted green and blue colors with some rust.
The silver content of this piece has been tested using standard accepted testing methods, such as acid testing.
Please note that vintage jewelry has been pre-owned, worn, and loved by its owner. The charm and beauty of vintage silver Taxco jewelry comes from the unique variations and characteristics inherent in hand-wrought silver. You may be able to see the artisan's tool marks. It is not new and perfect, nor should it be. Vintage silver items may also show age appropriate tarnish. This piece has some patina.
Substantial Los Castillo Pinwheel Mosaica Azteca Brooch c. 1955