Tuesday, February 16, 2010

OSCAR FIGUEROA ESCORCIA

Sterling Silver &
 Obsidian "Chintico Goddess" Necklace
Nestled in Mexico's lofty Sierra Madre Mountains is the beautiful Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens.

The grounds house 20 acres of gorgeous flora that includes wildflowers, orchids, and roses, as well as the atmospheric Hacienda de Oro Restaurant. Mexico is also the home of featured jewelry designer Oscar Figueroa Escorcia.

During the 17th century, Taxco, Mexico was the premier center of silver mining becoming Spain's primary source of the white metal for at least two centuries.

However, the Spaniards, as well as other Europeans, gradually began sourcing silver from closer locales and eventually the mining stopped.

Despite being a mining site, with accomplished silversmiths, Taxco was not revered as a viable location for the production of silver jewelry or objects; that is until the arrival of architect and American citizen, William Spratling in 1929.

Spratling is credited with motivating local silversmiths to redevelop their talents thereby ushering in Taxco's present reputation as one of the world's leading regions for finely crafted sterling silver jewelry. Escorcia is among many Mexican silversmiths who take great pride in this longstanding craft.

His sleek range of jewelry is beautifully minimalistic, and sophisticated replete with varied textures from smooth to bumpy to ribbed and embossed floral motifs. He carves out pieces of metal creating open designs, and pays homage to Mexico's heritage with his bold Aztec Warrior pendant.

"I was born in Taxco," says the designer, "and grew up in a silversmith environment. In 1983, at age 19, I began making my own designs, and in four years I developed collections that are based in the origin and traditions of our culture."

Escorcia implements gemstones like onyx, pearls, malachite, and smoky quartz within his metal designs and you sense the labor of love. The culmination of intellect and instinct; elegant forms literally take shape in his hands.

"The process begins with melting pure silver grains, once the metal is melted and transformed into a sheet it is passed through a laminator to make wires or cases," he explains.

Sterling Silver "Ancient Eyes" Earrings
"The metal sheets are cut and sanded on all sides, then the sheets are welded with a torch and this is how they begin to take shape.

When the designs are carefully cultivated in the varied materials of our country, it is easy to create jewelry lending beauty and elegance to the wearer."

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