Caroline's Jewelry with a Past is offering a sterling silver mid-century modern Mosaico Azteca necklace and earrings demi-parure by Los Castillo of Taxco Mexico circa 1950-1965. The inlaid azurite and malachite rectangular pieces are accented by silver decoration. It is numbered #170. This piece is fashioned with a Greek key style. The 14 rectangular pieces are attached with loops to allow a smooth fit on the neck. The necklace is 15-1/2" long X 1/2" wide (maximum dimensions). This piece has a tongue and groove closure. It weighs 82.8 grams. The back is marked "Los Castillo" + "Taxco" + "Hecho in Mexico" + "170". The earrings are individual rectangular pieces. They are screw back and weigh 12.8 grams. One back is marked "Los Castillo" + "Taxco" + older Eagle 15 mark. The second is marked "170" + "Hecho en Mexico". The combined weight of all 3 pieces is 95.6 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 (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 procedures to make this necklace were adapted from Aztec techniques. It is created from a silver base with raised contours outlining the piece and inlaying pieces of stone. Since this technique requires a precise and expert craftsman since the stone inlay is relatively thin and brittle, it was expensive and time consuming to produce.
The silver content of this piece has been tested using standard accepted testing methods, such as acid testing. When you own vintage handmade jewelry, you wear a design that is unique and represents the artist's vision. It is made by a skilled craftsman and can have features which are only found in this piece. The jewelry may exhibit the marks of the craftsman. It will not be perfect. The jewelry shows some age appropriate tarnish.