The waters of Lake Chapala surround the Isla de los Alacranes, an island near Jalisco, Mexico. Though mired in controversy regarding contamination, the lake provides a habitat for innumerable indigenous animals and plants.
For this reason, the local Audubon Society rallies to preserve the habitat. Mexico is also the home of featured jewelry designer Cesar Godoy.
Before its conquest by Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortes in the early 16th century, the Aztec's broad empire encompassed southern areas of Mexico all the way to Guatemala.
Though not plentiful, Aztec jewelry artifacts in gold, copper and sterling silver, display the culture's dexterity in crafting complex pieces using techniques like repoussé, lost wax, and heating processes.
Individual or collective symbols were regularly implemented in Aztec jewelry to signify everything from religious ideas to the birth of an infant.
Godoy's understated sterling silver jewelry is a streamlined interpretation of this powerful symbolism whereby he implements the lost wax technique.
"I loved to paint when I was a boy, and when I was 15 I used to visit a silversmith's workshop. I would spend hours watching people at work; learning some of their techniques. I especially enjoyed lost wax techniques.
When my father, brother, and I started our own workshop, I kept training with those, and other, techniques. The different pre-Hispanic cultures are a great source of inspiration. My aim is to give them a more contemporary style."
Godoy implements petroglyph-like concentric circles, turtles, eagles, and llamas into items offset by hammered and oxidized silver. These accents bring an organic, rough-hewn appearance to the pieces.
Many of his pendant necklaces double as bracelets and are suspended and/or linked by a thick, leather chord, which adds a subtle grit and masculinity. Overall, it is a great synthesis of the past and present.
"My hope is that people from around the world can learn to appreciate this ancient culture through a piece of jewelry," he says. "My effort is constant, and currently I am working on new collections that range from ethnic to vanguard."
Photo 1 (top right): Sterling Silver Dangle Aztec Stone Arrows Earrings
Photo 2 (bottom left): Sterling Silver Mystical Eagle Pendant with Leather Chord