Caroline's Jewelry with a Past is offering a sterling silver Los Castillo "Mosaico Azteca" demi-parure c. 1950-1965. This large, bold piece brooch features inlaid azurite, lapis and malachite pieces accented by silver edging in a pinwheel or spiral motif centered by a round azurite button. The pin has muted blues, greens and brown colors. The brooch is numbered #128 and has a safety clasp closure. It is 2-1/4" (round dimension) and weighs 23.2 grams. The back is marked with "Los Castillo" + "Taxco" + "Hecho en Mexico" + "128" (design or style number) + "Mosaica Azteca" + there is an Eagle Mark, but it is not clear. The clasp is a flip style closure. The earrings feature a swirl spiral centered with a flat, round "button" in the middle. They are in shades of muted greens and blues. The earrings are 1-1/4" long X 3/4" wide (maximum dimensions) and are screw back. The reverse of one earring has "Los Castillo" + "Taxco" + "Hecho en Mexico" + "128" + the Eagle "15" mark. The second earring has indistinct markings. They weigh 11.5 grams. The set weighs a total of 34.7 grams.
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 inlaid in the silver. Since this technique requires a precise and expert craftsman and because the stone inlay is relatively thin and brittle, the finished pieces were expensive and time consuming to produce. The malachite/ lapis/ azurite inlay features muted green and blue colors.
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. The inlay techniques are mosaic style and use a matrix to hold the stone in place. Edge wear and spaces in the material are common and were original to the piece. Vintage silver items may also show age appropriate tarnish. These pieces exhibit patina characteristic of their age.
Special Los Castillo Spiral Demi-Parure #128 c. 1955