On Mexico City: I am not a “city person”, I hate traffic, crowds,
noise, crime, and pollution - so I tend to stay out of Mexico City
as much as possible… There is a large jewelry district in the
center of town, by the Zocalo, most sell lightweight, flashy, gold
jewelry. Very few really nice pieces. Tons of Italian chain. Zona
Rosa has a half dozen really high end jewelers, and there are a few
others scattered about. Diamond jewelry, containing diamonds larger
than 5 pointers is relatively rare. Colored stones, and just gold
jewelry are more common in this culture. DeBeers hasn’t spent much
here yet:) It is not easy to get into the manufacturers without
contacts. There are at least three government run “artisan” schools
that I know of.
There are well over 400 “registered” and active silver shops in
Taxco… not counting all the cousins, aunts, uncles, and inlaws who
work out of a corner in private homes.
I have personally stayed in about a dozen of the better hotels in
town, over 16 years. (and some of the worst, when there was nothing
else available) Hotel Agua Escondida on the Zocalo is as close to
the center of town as you can get, but I’d prefer to be a bit
further out towards the edges of town these days. There is one main
government run school for silversmiths, and a couple of private
Iguala, about 20 minutes from Taxco has some goldsmiths, but most of
what I saw last year was made in low karat gold.
Having the language is indispensable, for even though there are now
English, German, French, and Italian speaking salespersons in almost
all of the easily accessed shops - the best work is not always found
in those shops. No price is really fixed, and negotiating in Spanish
will almost always get you a better deal…
I only spent a few months in Oaxaca, 9 years ago, and that with a
family that did filigree silver. I’ve heard that most of them have
now moved to Guadalajara, so I can’t help much there.
If you need something specific, email me off forum.
Brian P. Marshall
Stockton Jewelry Arts School
704-708 West Swain Rd.
Stockton, CA 95207