I’m obsessed with the riches that lie south of the border
My closest friends know something strange about me: I was a Mexican in a former life. How else to explain the profound connection I feel to this country every time I visit?
Over the past week, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to reflect on my past: I temporarily moved my desk to a stretch of beach near Rosarito, a coastal community in Baja California that lies about 45 minutes south of the border. Between Las Rocas Resort & Spa and an oceanfront Airbnb condo in nearby Popotla, the accommodations had everything I needed for a week of creative work: WiFi, an endless supply of handmade tortillas, and views for days. As they say in Mexico, muy tranquilo!
In honor of my obsession with Mexico and its warm, generous people, I’m spotlighting three Mexican jewelers (or jewelers of Mexican heritage) making jewelry that is as interesting and attractive as the culture from which it sprung.
A mainstay at the Couture show in Las Vegas, Colette Steckel is hardly undiscovered. But she’s about to blow up: The Mexico City–based designer of Mexican and French heritage just opened a boutique in Los Angeles on trendy Melrose Place. In 2012, she filled in our JCK Asks questionnaire, which provides a charming insight into her inspirations, including an enviable habit of spending time in paradise. As a result, her fine jewelry is inventive, feminine, and marked by a prodigious use of organic motifs—such as these pieces from her new Burning Thistles collection.
Cirsium collar in 18k rose gold with champagne diamonds and pearls; $11,960
Ear cuffs in 18k rose gold with champagne diamonds and pearls; $5,800
I met Espinosa about a decade ago, when I was the globetrotting editor of the now-defunct Couture International Jeweler magazine. I want to say it was at a jewelry show in Madrid. But it’s all a bit of a blur. What I do remember is that Espinosa was friendly, funny, and full of great recommendations for the trip I was planning to Oaxaca, Mexico.
Born in Taxco, Mexico’s premier silver manufacturing town, the designer is both talented and prolific. His fashion-forward silver and vermeil jewelry is available at his branded boutiques located in cities across Mexico—from Acapulco to Veracruz—as well as Russia, Puerto Rico, and San Antonio, Texas. Over the coming months, expect to see a lot more from Espinosa—he just started working with our favorite publicists at Luxury Brand Group (which, incidentally, just opened a New York City showroom)!
Calcuta cuff bracelet in 22k gold-plated on base metal; $200
Multi-strand Cubes necklace in 22k gold-plated base metal; $580
Only Me bracelet in 18k yellow gold with personalized initial letters; $1,980
JCK senior editor Jennifer Heebner cast the spotlight on this Hollywood, Calif.–based designer a few years ago in her Get to Know blog series, but it took me another year or so to catch on to Villegas’ enchanting Instagram feed, which spotlights her gem-set insect-themed jewels against backdrops of food, flora, and fauna. If you have an aversion to beetles, bugs, and other creepy-crawlies, one look at Villegas’ elegant anthropods will convince you otherwise!
Baby spider stud earring in 18k yellow gold with 0.05 ct. diamond; $1,000
Crossroads pendant in 18k pink gold with sapphires, tanzanite, and a South Sea pearl; $7,400
Cupid bracelet in 18k yellow gold with black diamonds, blue sapphires, and enamel; $11,600
(Photo at top courtesy of Daniel Espinosa)