Caroline's Jewelry with a Past is offering a sterling silver Los Castillo Mosaico Azteca mid-century modern necklace c. 1950-1965. The inlaid azurite and malachite pieces are accented by a silver frame edging the stonework in an Aztec (probably) stylized symbol. The shape of each piece resembles an abstract design with jagged “teeth”. The necklace is Los Castillo design number #237. The piece has 19 articulated links which are connected with "O" rings along the top, allowing the necklace to fit comfortably on the neck. The necklace is 15" long. The piece has a tongue and groove hidden closure and is secure. The necklace weighs 56.2 grams. The back is marked with "Los Castillo" + "Taxco” + “Hecho en Mexico" + "237".
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 technique used to make this necklace were 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 pieces were expensive and time consuming to produce. The malachite/ azurite inlay features muted 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. This piece has minimal patina.
Skillful Los Castillo Mosaico Azteca Necklace c. 1955