I think I belong in the second group and when I bumped into this Los Castillo cuff quite some time ago, I was elated!
Yes, I was familiar with the "metales casados" or mixed metals technique, the marrying of sterling silver with copper and brass, within the field of Mexican silversmithing yet here I was holding in my very hands a fabulous bracelet that was wrought in solid sterling silver and then had its face... covered in copper. It's usually the other way around, right?
I had to run to my books and search again - could I find another listed example? And low and behold, there it was, on page 125 of Penny Morril's latest work, her book on Margot de Taxco's enamels! A gorgeous copper over sterling silver demi comprised of necklace and bracelet by Margot in a classic "pre-Colombian" design...
|Penny Morrill, Margot Van Voorhies, the Art of Mexican Enamelwork, p. 125|
Should we assume that the two talleres shared in a rather bold experiment yet ended up not producing many similar pieces? If I were to suggest a reason for their scarcity, I would say that the idea of covering good old sterling in what is generally perceived as a "lesser" metal probably failed to strike a cord with prospective customers. It was a bold move; one bound to be appreciated by the few imaginative enough to plunge into that deep Taxco sea of experimentation.
Yet I did find a second example in the real world - a fantastic Los Castillo clamper available on Etsy by TexomaVintage (thank you, Jane, for kindly sharing the photos!).
|Los Castillo copper over sterling silver clamper bracelet|
Both pieces have sold since I started thinking of this entry - which shows that there is an audience out there for jewelry that breaks the mold of the ordinary and the expected to venture into the thrilling realm which defying the canon creates. So let me wrap this up with a few more details of this post's protagonists...
First the Los Castillo cuff bracelet, des. no 909:
|Los Castillo copper over sterling silver Cuff Bracelet|
|Another view of the cuff|
|Los Castillo des. no 909 hallmarks|
For all the specifics and more photos, you can visit the original listing on my site at
Last but not least, the clamper bracelet from Texoma Vintage on Etsy:
|Los Castillo des. no 250 clamper|
|Hallmarks on the Los Castillo copper over silver clamper|