In Yucatán, many women wear earrings and necklaces of finely crafted gold or silver threads in unique and spectacular pieces, known as filigree. Do you want to know the best kept secrets of this very Yucatecan jewelry?

Jewelry has always served to adorn those who wear it at unique moments or celebrations. In the case of Yucatán it is no exception, and if you are a keen observer, you have noticed that women complement their attire with earrings, rings, and rosary-type filigree necklaces.

Here are five things you probably didn’t know about Yucatecan filigree:

1. It is a handmade technique consisting of fine gold or silver threads that are bent into unique shapes. They are made with painstaking care, patience, and dedication, which makes it a very delicate and aesthetic skill.

2. It was usual for women in the 19th century to wear filigree jewelry to complement their traditional attire, “terno” or “hipil,” as a sign of their identity. Rosaries, large earrings, and bracelets were the most prominent. Today we see more and more young women wearing pieces in modernized versions of the traditional designs.

3. Yucatecan filigree is distinguished from others, like the Oaxacan, because it is more dense and elaborate, with beautiful finishes. Being made of fine threads of silver or gold, it is very light and beautiful. The star piece is the Yucatecan rosary in gold filigree that hangs almost to the waist.

4. Filigree is produced by men and women alike, in the city and in several municipalities in Yucatán. There used to be a filigree craftsman in each municipality. Today, it is more difficult to find these dedicated goldsmiths. In some places like Poxila in Uman, filigree has become a livelihood for groups of women who dedicate themselves to this traditional art with a workshop of manufacture and sale.

5. You can find pieces made of Mexican silver, more affordable than those made of gold. The most modern designs include initials, rings, earrings with semi-precious stones, and even figures of the moon, sun, geometric shapes, and anything you can imagine.

Yucatecan filigree is an art that you can wear or give as a gift. Because it is handmade, you can be sure that Yucatecan artisans dedicated time and patience to create that unique piece. You will find modern and traditional earrings, rings, necklaces, and much more. If you really want to wear something very Yucatecan, you must put on a piece of filigree jewelry!

Where to buy?
• Casa de las Artesanías (63 x 64, Centro, next to Monjas), gold and silver pieces made by Yucatecan hands.
• Amandina Jewelry (www.amandinajoyeria.com), unique accessories that fuse the traditional craftsmanship of filigree with an avant-garde vision.
• Taller del Mundo Maya (www.haciendasmundomaya.com/en/), filigree done by local women with unique designs.

By Violeta H. Cantarell

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