This vintage necklace hails from Mexico and the venerable atelier Casa Maya. The mixed metal piece is not only a fabulous example of modernist jewelry from the mid-century; it is featured in the 2011 book “Maya Mexico Jewelry; An Informational Guide," by Sandy Hargrove. Casa Maya was based out of Mexico City and started producing copper and brass jewelry in the 1950s, largely to meet tourist demand. According to Hargrove's book, "The people behind Maya saw in that increase the opportunity to service a wider albeit not always as affluent clientele that visited the country and wanted to take something back with them. Affordable jewelry with good craftsmanship and interesting design could be the ideal souvenir." This was also an era when other jewelry makers were turning to copper and brass--think Francisco Rebajes, Matisse-Renoir, Bell Trading, and others. Casa Maya pieces are highly collectible, in part thanks to their high-profile designers, such as Hubert Harmon (who especially worked in copper and brass), Annette Nancarrow, and Betancourt. The green beads in the necklace are likely green onyx, a form of agate, or could be Mexican jadeite, also known as chalchihuitl.
The pendant portion of the necklace measures about 6-1/4" tall by 2-1/2" wide, by about 1-5/8" wide. Measuring end to end, the necklace is 24-1/2" long; plan for a hang length of about 16-17". Weighs a substantial 96g.
Collectible jewelry from an iconic era.
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