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. The design is similar to a "comma", "musical note", or split spiral. The necklace is Los Castillo design number #203. The piece has 29 articulated links which taper in size. The center links face right and left. The links are connected with attached "O" rings along the top, allowing the necklace to fit comfortably on the neck. The necklace is 14" long. The piece has a secure box clasp. The necklace weighs 63.0 grams. The back is marked with "Los Castillo" + "Taxco” + “Hecho en Mexico" + "Sterling" + "203" + "Mosaico Azteca" + the Eagle "15" mark.
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 method of manufacture used to make this necklace 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 pieces were expensive and time consuming to produce. The malachite/ azurite inlay features soft green and royal blue colors.
The silver content of this piece has been tested using standard accepted testing methods, such as acid testing. The necklace is marked "Sterling".
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. Vintage silver items may also show age appropriate tarnish. This piece has patina, consistent with age.