November 18, 2019

Going once, going twice, gone!

Going once, going twice, gone!

I was surfing the internet when I came across an article that caught my attention right away. Christie's, the largest auction house in the world organized an online event to sell to the highest bidder, some of William Spratling's silver jewelry pieces.

Maybe this name doesn't say anything to you, but for whoever knows about the history of silversmithing in Taxco, it means a lot.

William Spratling was the main figure which drove the reestablishment of the silver industry in Taxco.

After the Revolution of 1910, a cultural and artistic movement took place by a group of North American and Mexican intellectuals, who decided to revive the greatness of Mexican artistry. In the late 1920s, William Spratling, a young American architect came to Mexico to discover the Pre-Columbian artifacts and contemporary indigenous crafts, which inspired him to create a great collection of silver jewelry pieces, with the help of the silversmiths of Taxco. When he first arrived to the town, he quickly realized that it languished in a state of poverty. It had been producing silver for more than 400 years without benefiting its own people. So, under the influence of some intellectuals and artists like Diego Rivera, and his own interest in Mexican culture, he decided to launch a project with the social purpose of providing a livelihood for the native population of Taxco and help them rise out of poverty. That's how everything began. Spratling met an old man who knew how to craft the silver so with his help he started his own workshop "Taller de las Delicias", where the apprentices learned and mastered the silversmithing trade, that since then has been transmitted from generation to generation to the present day. 

I leave you with the link of the article that Christie's wrote about the origins of the silversmithing in Taxco, where they include pieces of other two renowned designers that started as Spratling's apprentices but later took their own way: Antonio Pineda and Hector Aguilar. 

William Spratling and the pioneers of Mexico’s silver renaissance (click here)

William Spratling had a project in mind that led to the foundations of what is today one of Taxco's main economic activities and pride. Nowadays the silversmiths continue to use the traditional materials of the past and combine the ancient techniques with modern ones, to create outstanding pieces of jewelry that cannot be find anywhere else. That's what makes Taxco's silver jewelry so special.