Taxco & William Spratling
The Taxco people mined silver and used it to make gifts for Aztec gods and for other ceremonial purposes originally. By the time the Spanish arrived with conquistador, Hernán Cortés the city was set to be established and the modern city of Taxco was born in the 1520s. Before the end of the century Taxco silver was already famous across Europe and had become Spain’s main source of precious metals. Mining began to decrease in the 1700s and in 1716 Jose De La Borda decided to pick up mining at a time when there wasn't much mining left discovering a massive vein of silver making him the richest man in Mexico. The vein meant outstanding silver piece were then crafted in Taxco again and the city began to flourish. Over the years the craftsmanship in silver was passed from generation to generation until the 1920's when William Spratling moved to Mexico. In Taxco Spratling began working with Diego Rivera and began crafting pieces of pre-Colombian and Aztec inspiration. His designs sold well and he became more successful. With this he started teaching local silver designers how to produce his designs creating an apprenticeship program for local aspiring jewelry makers. In the late thirties, Spratling expanded beyond sales at Las Delicias and into a wholesale business and employed over 500 artisans in the workshop to meet the demand in the United States. He picked up retailers Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and others. On June 30, 1945, a majority of the shares was sold to North American investor Russell Maguire, whose business practices ultimately took the company into bankruptcy. In 1952, Spratling reestablished a small workshop in Taxco el Viejo where he worked until he passed away.