All of the silver jewelry that we sell is made by local Taxco artisans from silver – plata – that was mined in the Taxco de Alarcón region of México.
This colonial city lies in the north of the state of Guerrero, about 100 miles southwest of Mexico City. The area, nestled into rugged mountain terrain, has always been known for its richness in silver. Even in pre-Hispanic times, silver was mined for ritualistic gifts to the Aztec gods and other ceremonial purposes. The Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés established the modern town of Taxco, chosing its location because of the abundance of silver and establishing mining haciendas for the extraction and exportation of the precious metal.
In the mid-18th Century, José de la Borda, the son of a French army officer and a Spaniard, immigrated from Europe at the behest of his brother who was already working in Taxco, mining for silver, gold and iron ore. José had great luck and instincts and made several fortunes developing new mineral strikes and at one time becoming the richest man in Mexico. His success in silver mining funded his passion for architecture, including homes and gardens in Cuernavaca and Mexico City as well as the grand Santa Prisca Church in Taxco. The magnitude and opulence of the church – with ornate stone work, gold covered altars and a majestic cupola covered in colored tile – nearly bankrupted la Borda several times but he perservered, sought alternative financing and leveraged his various mining projects in order to see the church to completion. La Iglesia de Santa Prisca is famous throughout México and is a major international tourist draw. A largescale renovation project from 1997-2004 helped to restore damage done to the walls and vaults by mining blasts and earthquakes.
While silver mining and exportation continued in Taxco, it wasn’t until the late 1920s that its reputation as a source of artistic excellence in silverwork was born. In 1929, architecture professor and artist, William Spratling moved to Mexico. He became friends with Diego Rivera and used his connections in the United States to organize exhibitions for the famed Mexican muralist in New York City. He used commissions from his work with Rivera to purchase a house in Taxco.
Once in Taxco, Spratling was inspired by pre-Colombian and Aztec art to begin designing silver jewelry and other art pieces. He hired local workers and trained them to produce his designs using Taxco silver and, as his reputation grew, created an apprentice program for aspiring silver designers. Spratling’s commitment to using traditional Mexican motifs in his work inspired a great deal of Mexican nationalism and earned him the nickname of “El Padre de la Plata de México” or “The Father of Mexican Silver.”
Since this design renaissance in the 1920s, Taxco’s reputation as a source of both the raw silver ore and beautifully worked silver jewelry has grown internationally. The beautiful colonial architecture, gorgeous landscape and exquisite silver jewelry makes Taxco a popular tourism destination for both Mexican nationals and international visitors. It is often referred to as “The Silver Capital of the World” and is the site of the World’s Silver Fair every Novemeber.
Taxco.925 Mexican Silver Store is proud to share this rich Mexican and artistic heritage with all of our customers, one piece of stunning silver jewelry at a time!