innovative and talented designer of Mexican jewelry, silver hollowware,
tin, copper, and furniture, demonstrated his appreciation for,
and sensitivity to the early cultures of Mexico. He established
a model for the artistic development and growth of the silver industry
in Taxco and well deserved the title "Father of Contemporary
study of the silver hallmarks and construction techniques
used on Spratling's Taxco jewelry and hollowware designs is increasingly
important! Spratling's designs have always been copied but
now, perhaps because of the higher prices Spratling's name commands,
copies of his designs AND replicas of his hallmarks are
all too common in today's marketplace. See Hallmarks,
What Do They Mean? Photographs of several examples
of hallmark replicas (designed to deceive) have been included.
IT AUTHENTIC OR A COPY???
Because of the more sophisticated
techniques being used today for copying hallmarks, the section Tips
on Collecting is one of the most important parts of this website!
It is more vital than ever to be aware of the construction techniques,
design periods, materials used, and other such issues. (Tips
on Collecting discusses these topics.) If the hallmark
"looks okay" but the construction technique seems inappropriate,
or the design is inappropriate to the hallmark used, you may be
looking at a copy rather than the "real thing."
ME MORE ABOUT MY .....
The section entitled
Search for Spratling Items now includes more than 985
different Spratling items. Although this is the most complete
compendium of Spratling designs to be found anywhere, It continues
to expand, and hopefully, someday - with your help - will be complete.
Use it not only to find out more about your specific Spratling treasure,
but more importantly, to gain a sense of what kinds of designs and
materials were consistent with which hallmarks. The "Search"
database now presents items in a general chronological order
according to when the design was first introduced.
The items are not presented in the exact order in which Spratling
introduced them, but rather grouped within a two or three year period
of introduction. Therefore, if you search "Bracelets"
as the only search criteria, those that appear at the beginning
will have been introduced earlier than the 26th or 30th bracelet
that appears. Those that appear at the end of category (bracelets
in this example) will reflect those designs Spratling introduced
at the end of his career. Remember, this is a general grouping,
and does not reflect which bracelet was designed "first"
or "second." The item actually pictured may not
have been produced immediately upon introduction of the design.
For instance, the design
may have been introduced circa 1938 at a time Spratling was using
the WS Print primary hallmark. If it was a popular
design, Spratling may have continued to produce it until 1944 at
which time the WS Print Circle was the primary hallmark in
use. And the example we have pictured may bear the WS Print Circle
hallmark. Nevertheless, this design has been grouped
with other circa 1938 items since that is when the design was introduced. Within
each category, Silson items are grouped together, and if any tin
or copper items were made, they appear at the end of the category
listings even though all copper and tin ware items were produced
from 1931 until about 1945. Hopefully this will make it easier
to identify style and design types with the appropriate general
THIS WEB SITE
of the sections of this website listed in the "buttons"
on the upper left of this page will lead you to more information
and, hopefully, greater appreciation for the genius of Spratling.
data for this website has come from Spratling's writings including
his correspondence and office records, Spratling's catalogs, interviews
with Spratling's contemporaries, writings and advertisements of
the period as well as personal examination of many thousands of
Spratling pieces. Many people have shared their information as well
as access to their Spratling pieces. We now have more than 5000
records of individual Spratling pieces organized into a database
that was created to facilitate analysis of this research material.
Only a small part of that database appears on this website. We continue
to discover new information that will refine the data presented
here. Your comments, information, data, and dialogue are gratefully
first design period necklace is one of the relatively few
examples of Spratling's work that was not inspired by Mexico's
pre-Columbian heritage. It appears that the design inspiration
for this necklace came from the halo of the Virgin, a figure
currently in the collection of the Museo de Arte Religisio
in Mexico City. We find other examples of both jewelry and
household objects in which Spratling used similar repoussed
stars and repoussed sun rays. Spratling referred to this necklace
as the Rubinstein necklace because it was initially designed
for Helena Rubenstein. The design appeared in Spratling's
wholesale catalogues from 1942 until 1945 although the above
example was made circa 1939 as evidenced by its hallmarks
WS Print later, Taxco Mexico, and 980. The hallmarks are impressed
on a silver plaque that has been soldered to the back of the
angel's face. This entire necklace has been created by using
a repousse technique and, in this design, there are no flat
surfaces on the reverse side of the necklace on which to directly
how to distinguish between REAL vs Copy
Definitive and Comprehensive Reference
new book, Spratling Silver: A Field Guide - Recognizing
a William Spratling Treasure arrived from the printer
in late June. There is information on all hallmarks - plus
all brand new material including photos of each of
the recently researched verified hallmark variations. Full
Color! More than 500 photos! You can read more -
and order YOUR copy in our Book Store.
OF THE COMMENTS RECEIVED RECENTLY
hat goes off to you! On behalf of myself and Spratling lovers
everywhere I want to thank you for researching and producing
the definitive guide to William Spratling's hallmarks. You
tackled a confusing and complex area and came up with a clear
and interesting field guide that will prove valuable for years
to come. I really enjoyed reading it page by page." -
book! Worth every penny AND MORE!!! - Fredrica Monosson
a passionate collector, an excellent writer and a meticulous
researcher could fashion a book like A Field Guide to
Spratling Silver. Phyllis Goddard not only covers the
topic of Spratling Silver brilliantly, but the book also is
the very model of how a treatise on collecting should be written
and produced." - Ed Schwartz
wonderful! The book look absolutely great...plus, the content
is so intensely packaged with the information everybody needs,
and presented in a truly easy-to-use format, too." -
Maestros de Plate traveling museum exhibit is currently
in Albuquerque. (See Current News
for more information.) This handsome book, William Spratling
and the Mexican Silver Renaissance is more than an exhibit
catalogue. It provides exceptional information about 20th
century Mexican silver - as well as photos and information
about Mexico's new designers. If you have note seen the exhibit
yet, or if the exhibit will not be traveling to a city near
you, this book is the next best thing! Read more - and order
a copy autographed by Penny Morrill - in our Book
Forget This One...
our Book Store for these and other
Spratling related books!