Lets start by talking about the usage of silver to make Hispanic artisan Jewelry, silver pendants in particular. Silver was in Latin America very tied to mythology and what we call creencias populares or people’s beliefs.
We inherited these beliefs partly from Spain, and they mixed with the indigenous ones creating particular customs that many Spanish speaking people still practice.
Artisan Jewelry Silver Pendants Tied to Traditions in Hispanic America
Did you know handmade silver pendants are specially tied to Hispanic culture? In Spain until not long ago, probably the beginning of the last century, many parents were accustomed to place a small silver charm or pendant hidden in their children’s dolls to avoid what we call aojo orMal de ojo.
Mal de ojo or evil eye, is simply an illness that a more powerful person can give you by staring at you. The popular belief is that this evil eye affects children the most, therefore the reason for the silver pendants hidden in the child’s doll.
In many of our Latin-American countries, Latinos wear artisan jewelry made of silver. Artisans shape the metal into certain forms that many believed were auspicious to repel bad energy and improve malefic conditions.
Even though this is not the main reason why we wear artisan jewelry silver pendants in this case, it is culturally enriching to know that a crescent moon, cross, frog, fish, pineapple, acorn, bell, rattle or a sphere are considered pretty good symbols to protect and bring abundance to ourselves.
Symbols like these above require careful crafstamship. This work is very different from the work artisans make in dichroic glass jewelry for example, or men’s leather bracelets where artisans use silver to set the glass and work the leather along side to give it its fantastic looks.
History Behind Silver Pendants in Latin Countries
Looking at the evolution of designs and fashion in Latin jewelry after the XI century, big and round broches and pendants became very popular. Carrying dijes or charms around your neck was a must for many fashionable ladies at that time.
Many of today’s Hispanic jewelry designs are inspired by nature and culture. Round forms, dominoes, birds and trees typical in Latin America, make their way into the artisans designs.
Many pendants also have geometric designs, why is this common? Because many of our artisans also find inspiration in our indigenous ancestors, in many cases Maya and Aztec tribes, which used lots of lines and semicircles in their art.
Charms also depict warriors or frogs in a particular indigenous style, all steming from indigenous art.
Today artisans are very well trained and produce pieces of incredible high quality. Here I included just a few for you to choose from these precious pieces of Hispanic jewelry. You have more choices and can even expand the image once you click on a design.