From the Aztecs and their love of gold to the conquistadors in search of precious jewels, Mexico’s history with jewelry spans thousands of years. Today, the love affair continues as Mexican jewelry designers draw influence from their country’s traditions and fuse it with contemporary materials, styles, and techniques to create brands that are taking the world by storm. Here is Culture Trip’s pick of the nine best Mexican jewelry designers working today.
Nature-inspired jewelry by Mayeh | © Ivón
In her own words, Daniela Villegas’ colorful jewelry stems from “the blur of colors” that is her daily life. She draws inspiration from everything around her, including her native Mexico and the many places she has traveled. The key to her success is that each piece is entirely unique and made with the finest materials for longevity. The brand is typified by the delicate gold rings that sit on the top of the finger, often in the shape of insects and flowers to reflect Villegas’ love of nature. If her numerous appearances in Vogue are anything to go by, the fashion world is just as inspired by her eye for detail.
Already a household name for many, Daniel Espinosa’s jewelry epitomizes luxury and indulgence. Despite its international reputation, many of the pieces in his collections – gold cuffs, geometric rings, beaded necklaces – give a nod to their Mexican nationality. Espinosa grew up in Taxco, an area of Mexico based around its metals industry. Surrounded by examples of the finest gold and silver, it is no wonder that Espinosa does not settle for anything less than the highest quality metals for his jewelry. Having studied and spent considerable periods of time in Europe and the United States, his pieces ingeniously combine the traditions of his hometown in Mexico with the modernity of western design.
Treviño has taken everything you thought you knew about Mexico and has turned it on its head into something more modern, fashionable, and edgy. At first sight, her designs appear to stem from everything classically Mexican: Aztec geometry, Mayan symbolism, rocks, stones, and crystals. Yet the subtlety of her designs would have you doubting that they stem from anything other than Treviño’s imagination. The beauty of her jewelry is in the fact that its influences are wholly Mexican but its appeal entirely international. The woman that wears Georgina Treviño is confident and a risk-taker, and that is exactly the impression you get when you see a piece of her stunningly unique jewelry.
Gustavo Helguera’s designs aren’t aimed at the woman that wants to blend into the crowd. Bold, over the top and extravagant are words that spring to mind when one sees his jewel-encrusted necklaces and kooky charm bracelets. His tagline of ‘the best accessory a woman can have is self-assurance’ is exemplified in each and every one of his unique and gloriously indulgent designs. These are not pieces of jewelry to be worn every day and with any old outfit; Helguera has purposely designed jewels that will stand out even at the most exorbitant of events. Without doubt, Gustavo Helguera aims to make his clients feel like the belle of the ball, and he succeeds in doing so.
Formerly one of Mexico’s best-kept secrets, Lola Bassó is making waves in the jewelry industry and she’s doing it almost exclusively through social media. Lola was raised with an appreciation for fine jewels, and understands the significance of gifting a piece of jewelry; a memory frozen in time for its owner to look at again and again. The personality that she pours into her designs has not gone unnoticed. Additionally, her pieces have been spotted on numerous celebrities; on the style pages of several international magazines; and on television. Lola Bassó jewelry is beautifully simple yet classic, with splashes of amethyst and pearl setting off simple gold chains to perfection. The fans have spoken: Lola is here to stay.
The basis of Mani Maalai’s appeal is its innate connection with all things natural. The jewelry is adorned with symbols of the earth: serpents, insects, the sun, the moon, as well as subtle references to Mexico’s rich historical past. Combine this with the ready-to-wear attitude of the brand and you know that you’ve found something unique; not many jewelry designers can make something so extravagant into low-maintenance fashion. The freshness of the pieces appeals to an edgier market with the pieces appearing in fashion-forward magazines such as Nylon. Despite this positive publicity and international hype, Mani Maalai’s roots are firmly grounded and it remains very much a Mexican brand.
Ivón Fuentes, founder of Mayeh, created the brand with her love of all things Mexican in mind. The pieces are designed to reflect aspects of traditional Mexican culture with a modern twist. Typical pottery and embroidery from the central and southern regions of the country, precious stones from their natural habitat, and Talavera pottery from Puebla are just some of the local materials used to ensure that the brand champions its roots. At the heart of the brand is social responsibility, combined with undeniable elegance. Its home might be Mexico, but with stores opening up in the United States, Canada, and Spain, this unique brand is one to watch.
For Damien Rohrbach jewelry design is personal. He endeavors to get to know his clients personally to better understand their preferences, and understands the desire of many to own a piece of jewelry that is completely unique. This is no ordinary customer experience. Rohrbach uses 3Design CAD technology to create 3D models of his designs, enabling his clients to envisage exactly how their ring, necklace or earrings will look. From the simple yet elegant freshwater pearl earrings to the ostentatious rings that wrap the finger in an array of jewels, Damien Rohrbach has designed something to please everyone.
With the candy skull, Guadalupe, and Talavera pendants, there is no doubt that Tanya Moss is a proud Mexican designer. In addition, she is also a driven, motivated, and forward-thinking businesswoman with more than ten boutiques spanning the world. And as if managing a highly successful jewelry company wasn’t enough, Tanya hosts Mexico’s Criaturas Creativas, a reality show about budding entrepreneurs. Her designs are instantly recognizable, elegant, and robust. It is no wonder that Tanya Moss is fast becoming the next big thing in jewelry design. With over 15 years of experience, Moss’s creations have already withstood the test of time.