Artisanal Jewelry: Our Beloved Taxco and Its Talented Hands

As we have mentioned before, Lolo was founded by three brothers, Julián, Luis, and Manuel together with their mother, Linda. This week’s blog is a special piece as it highlights their hometown and the talented work they grew up learning about: Taxco, Guerrero. With this blog, everyone at Lolo is excited to also highlight a new line of collections of Sterling Silver. We are beyond excited to bring these pieces and to share some information about the founder’s hometown and sincerely hope you will receive them with the same love and admiration we have.

Taxco de Alarcón is a small, colonial town in Mexico renowned for its workmanship in high-quality silver and its beautiful Spanish architecture, including its breathtaking church, Santa Prisca. It is located Southwest of Mexico City (about a 2:30 hour drive) and, today its main source of income comes from tourism rather than mining (as it is usually believed due to its reputation of silver-work), and there is no doubt as to why it receives the tourism it does. Painted all in white with red clay tiles, houses in this town gather around beautiful stone-paved roads in hills. At the center of this small town on the main street, Plaza Borda, is the Zócalo, or main plaza where people gather every day. In this plaza one can also find one of Mexico’s most beautiful churches: Parroquia de Santa Prisca y San Sebastían, commonly known only as the Church of Santa Prisca, with its beautiful baroque style.

The tourism industry in Taxco is highly linked to silver, where people go and can purchase the most astonishing artwork in silver for a fair price. The history behind Taxco’s silver dates to pre-colonial times, where natives mined precious stones for their own rituals and decoration. When the Spanish arrived, they established some mining operations until José de la Borda in the 18th century arrived and created more established mines. Due to its closeness to Mexico City and the history of the state, Taxco was home to many conflicts and change of leadership, which slowed down its mining potential. However, in the 1920s, an American named William Spratling established silver design workshops and reintroduced Taxco to working with this precious metal. From this date on, Taxco earned its fame and prestige for incredible works of art in jewelry and other pieces.

As Lolo’s founder can attest, visiting this town enriches one’s appreciation and understanding of town-living in Mexico as all traditions can be found. From parades and celebrations of Holy Week and Easter that date back to colonial periods and that are difficult to find anywhere else, to every-day conversations of people at the Zócalo, its main square plaza. Festivities are abundant filled with friends and family, music, fireworks, bells sounding, and plenty of food. Moreover, the colonial architecture allows for a stroll around the town crossing alleys filled with history and local legends. In the past decades, Taxco has unfortunately lost tourism due to the violence in Mexico and lack of federal funding to promote this town. Nonetheless, there is no question about the beauty, history, and talent in this Mexican hidden gem.

Jumping back to Lolo’s personal story now, Julian, Luis, Manuel and their sister where brought up by their mother, Linda, in this beautiful town. They grew up watching her mother build up a silver store from the ground and they learned the principles of doing business, how she carefully hand-picked the pieces in display for her store, and negotiated directly with artisans with a kind and fair attitude. Not only that but being able to grow up witnessing this also provided us the privilege of accessing silver workshops where artisans have shared with us the wisdom of both modern and ancient techniques.

Although for some it could be difficult to believe that a precious metal could have an artisanal nature, especially as big corporations of jewelry have made it easy to perceive these to be “easy to make”, we find ourselves astonished at the hard work and talent it takes to create only one small piece. Each piece of jewelry carries behind it years of history and passion melted onto it. Jewelry from Taxco, especially, is unique in the world given that most, if not all processes of fabrication are 100% handmade. Such is the difference that the majority of workshops around the world find themselves using industrialized methods to create their jewelry; from the computer-automated designs to the specialized machinery that makes the pieces. In Taxco, even though there have been several technological advancements which have been implemented in the jewelry industry to improve and facilitate some fabrication processes, jewelry masters in this town are true to their teachings and work with their hands to make every piece. This is why we believe that each piece of jewelry created in Taxco has within it a piece of heart from the artisan who crafted it. 

Without saying more, then we hope you enjoy our newest addition of sterling silver collections. These newly added pieces are a homage to the values in Lolo, instilled by Linda, as well as to the talented artisans who create works of art with this precious metal. Please let us know of your thoughts in the comments below!!

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