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Emma Melendez


Emma Melendez (???? – ????) The niece of Rafael Melendez, Emma opened her Taxco store and workshop in 1953. Her work is known for its technically flawless designs that often use oxidation on the backgrounds.

Her designs draw on ancient Aztec and Mayan ideas while they incorporate bold modern strokes. Repeating Mayan glyphs are found in some of her sterling silver bracelets that consequently resemble ancient artifacts.

When she began, she created all the designs. Then, in 1954, she brought in Miguel Garcia to design for her. Later she hired Francisco Rivera and Victor Jaimez, who had worked for William Spratling, the “Father of Mexican Silver” and an American philanthropist and collector of antiquities. 

Melendez always signed her jewelry with her name, Emma. In 1971, a thief robbed her workshop and stole jewelry and designs. Though she continued to operate a small shop until 1971, her business never fully recovered from that incident. Ironically, while this tragedy limited her production, it made her Mexican silver pieces all the more valuable.

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