|Carole Berk of Carole A. Berk Ltd., also a Mexican Silver expert, author and dealer in fine Mexican Silver pieces (www.carolberk.com), says to leave the dent in the piece. “I would not repair”, Berk said. Morrill adds, “The patina created by years of wear is a good sign that the piece is authentic. The owner should ask for a history of the piece. There are thugs out there right now producing fake Mexican silver, so provenience has become of the utmost importance in authenticating a piece”.
Certainly there are numerous artisan, Mexican silversmiths working today. There is also a great range of contemporary product available, from designer quality pieces to the touristy pieces one might buy off the street in Mexican resort towns like Cozumel and Ensenada. Fine pieces, old and new can be found from museum shops and reputable dealers both here and abroad. Prices, of course, will vary greatly depending on artisan, silver weight, scale and design of the piece. Contemporary Mexican silver and vintage Mexican silver obviously are very diverse entities. The best thing one can do is to educate oneself on authentic Mexican silver marks and the fraudulent marks that are prevalent. A couple of helpful on-line forums are the “Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks, Hallmarks & Maker’s Marks”: http://www.925-1000.com and http://www.modernsilver.com (which is the website of the online Modern Silver Magazine). Collector’s clubs and discussion groups like the “Silver Forum” and “Costume Jewelry Collectors International” might also be helpful venues in your search for additional information and knowledge about vintage Mexican silver.
Read more about Mexican silver jewelry:
“Mexican Silver: Modern Handwrought Jewelry & Metalwork”, Penny Morrill and Carol A. Berk, Schiffer Books, 2007.
“Silver Masters of Mexico, Hector Aguilar and the Taller Borda”, Penny Morrill, Schiffer Books, 1997.
“William Spratling and the Mexican Silver Renaissance: Maestros de Plata”, Penny Morrill, Harry N. Abrams, 2002.
“Infatuated with Color: Margot Van Voorhies and the Art of Mexican Enamelwork,” Penny Morrill, coming in Spring 2011.