Silver Earrings Made in Mexico
I once saw a travel show on TV, where the host visited a famous silver workshop in Mexico City. She sketched a design for a pair of artisan jewelry silver earrings, handed it to the silversmith, and then watched as he made the earrings right before her eyes. First he carved a model of the earring out of wax, and made a mold of the model. Then he poured molten silver into the mold to create the earring. Finally, he set both earrings and handed them over! Seeing this process gave me a huge appreciation for the talent and skill of these artisans.
The silver trade has been booming in Latin American countries like Mexico and Peru since colonial times. Spanish priests and friars taught the local people to work with silver so that they could make crosses, censers, and other items for the church. Over time, the locals began using their skills to create beautiful handmade Hispanic jewelry, including earrings. They passed their skills from father to son and soon entire generations of families became expert silversmiths.
Traditionally, earrings served as yet another way for Latinos to adorn themselves and show their power, wealth, and social status. This was true for indigenous people and Spanish colonials alike. Colonial women often received an elaborate set of earrings as a wedding gift from her husband’s family. The more valuable the earrings, the higher her status.
There are two main countries where Latin silver earrings come from: they are Mexico and Peru, even though there are many other artisans throughout South America that produce magnificent handmade artisan jewelry. Other examples are Hispanic handcrafted silver pendants from Mexico, Guatemala and Peru. Handrafted silver bracelets, men sterling silver jewelry and men’s leather bracelets where artisans use silver and work the leather alongside to give it its fantastic looks.
Silver Earrings Made in Peru
Latin earrings can also serve a symbolic purpose. For example, a quinceñera often receives a gift of earrings to remind her to keep her ears open and to listen to God and to the world around her.
In some Hispanic countries, baby girls get their ears pierced at the hospital a few days after they are born. That happens in Colombia for example. In others, the custom is to give the baby her first earrings at 2 or 3 months old.
Either way, the earrings symbolize the parents’ and godparents’ adoration for the baby. In Latino culture, you can dress a baby entirely in pink, but if she doesn’t get her earrings, everyone will assume she is a boy! Latin handmade earrings come in many shapes, sizes, and styles, from simple silver hoops to intricate hammered, cast, or cut designs.
One popular style is called calado, which means open work or filigree. Calado earrings feature intricate designs cut out of a sheet of silver. They catch the light well and look elegant.
While Latin earrings began as an imitation of Spanish styles, today there are many more sources of inspiration, including indigenous motifs. The artisans may use Mayan or Aztec symbols, such as the sun and moon, or animals like jaguars and eagles.
If we move farther south in Latin America the inspiration comes from the stone and gold work many indigenous tribes like the Chibchas used in Colombia. Overall Latino artisans may use more abstract shapes that are nonetheless inspired by the art and architecture of pre-Columbian cultures.
Whether you want your Latin jewelry to symbolize something or just look fantastic, artisan jewelry silver earrings are a great choice. They complement any outfit and will be a nice reminder of your Latino heritage.