The Silver Capitol of the World

Taxco is known as the “Silver Capitol of the World.” And for good reason, the area was rich in silver. The indigenous people mined it and created beautiful jewelry, decorations, and items for the home from this precious metal. Then the Spanish came and exploited the natives and the land to fill their own coffers. When the bulk of the silver was gone, the town went back to being a sleepy village (well sort of).

Then, in the 1930’s, an American named William Spratling came and reintroduced the lost art of silver jewelry making. Basing his designs on the original designs of the native peoples, he sold them to places like Tiffany and Cartier, and the silver industry in Taxco was reborn.

Now approximately 4 out of 5 adults are involved directly or indirectly with the silver trade. On weekends the streets teem with vendors offering their wares from nearly every nook and cranny and visitors looking for a bargain. It is chaos with a capitol C.

However I noticed a big change this year. Due to the high price of silver, the Silver Capitol of the World is fast becoming the brass and copper capitol instead. I wonder how much longer the artisans that I frequent can afford to produce pieces made from semi-precious stones and silver.

Here is a sampling of some of my finds this year.

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In addition to the all silver jewelry, the mixed media pieces like in the slide show that I favor, there is the “costume” jewelry made mostly of beads but still strung together with handmade silver links, like these:

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