Please enjoy browsing our beautiful new selection of Taxco Silver Shard Jewelry.
Modern Mata Ortiz is proud to introduce a collection of Taxco Silver Shard Jewelry. A brilliant blend of the finest silver in Mexico with shards of handcrafted museum quality pottery create stunning one of a kind pieces of wearable art.
The city of Taxco, located in the state of Guerrero has long been considered the silver capital of Mexico. American designer William Spratling, acknowledged as “The Father of Mexican Silver”, developed the silversmithing industry in Taxco around 1931 when he took up residency in the beautiful colonial town. Taxco had been the site of silver mines for centuries, but it had never been considered a location where jewelry and objects of silver were designed and made. Spratling hired an experienced goldsmith from Iguala who moved to Taxco and created silver jewelry of Spratling’s design. The enterprise grew far beyond Spratling’s expectations! Because he had created an apprentice system of training young silversmiths, many new talented artisans had an opportunity to develop their craft. Over time many of these artisans opened shops of their own – all with Spratling’s support. Today the thriving community is home to about 300 silver jewelry stores.
Meanwhile, 1500 miles away from Taxco in Northern Chihuahua, artisans are creating the fine art pottery that we love by using ancient techniques. After refining the clay, hand building, sanding, burnishing and painting, the delicate vessels are taken to an outdoor fire pit for completion. On average, 1 out of 5 pots break during the firing process. In the past, the broken pots and shards were either discarded or used for mosaic décor in the villager’s homes. Until 2004, when a rock hound family from Nuevo Casas Grandes, who had been longtime suppliers of polished precious stones to jewelers in Taxco, decided to bring a large selection of shards to the silver community.
The evolving idea was brought to the artistic hands of silversmith Agustin Torres Beltran, a Nahuatl Indian from the surrounding mountains of Taxco. His father, Jose Torres, who was part of the Spratling generation of silver artisans, taught Agustin technique at the age of 10. And by the age of 12, Agustin was already making more money as a jeweler than his grown brothers. He was well established when the Mata Ortiz shard project was presented to him. It took him about 3 months of experimenting with the shards before he had success with his designs. And 9 years later, Agustin is the sole silversmith hand forming each setting and design for the shards. Using only the finest precious metals, 95% pure silver blended with 5% copper, sterling silver is at most 92.5%. Austin often uses ancient Paquime symbols bridging the gap between the past and present, resulting in timeless and original pieces of artistic jewelry. The Taxco Silver Shard Jewelry can be found today at many museums, galleries and gift stores around the US, including The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.