SUMMARY OF MAYA MEXICO HALLMARKS
One of the best ways to learn about vintage jewelry in anyone's collection is to understand the hallmarks used. For vintage Mexican jewelry, it was quite common for the taller (workshop) to use more than one hallmark. Hallmarks were added as quality changed, as styles changed, or often to reflect changes in the company itself.
The first place I found information about Maya Mexico's hallmarks was in Billie Hougart's The Little Book of Mexican Silver Trade and Hallmarks. From that handy book I learned that Maya, while in Taxco, had a silver registration number of TM - 171. "T" indicated that the city of Taxco was the location of the taller. "M" was the initial (first or last) of the artist applying for the mark. . . in this case "Maya". The number "171" indicated that this was the 171st name to be registered under the TM combination.
While investigating my own collection of Maya Mexico jewelry and doing research for my upcoming book on that collection, I have discovered many Maya hallmarks. Here I offer to you the results of that research, which I do not believe is currently available anywhere else.
The hallmarks are arranged in chronological order from the 1940's when Maya began operation in Taxco through the 1960's when it closed its shop in Mexico City.
Additionally, I have tried to indicate
the evolution of their marks from that of a high quality of silver 980 to 925 to simply "sterling" and finally to marks used on jewelry made of brass, copper, and alpaca. Sterling silver, by the way, is 925/1000 (925 parts of silver to 1000 other elements present). Early Taxco craftsmen such as Spratling used the higher 980 quality at first.
By 1948, the Mexican government declared that silver be additionally marked with an eagle symbol. Since none of the silver hallmarks for Maya (which I know at least) carry an eagle symbol, I assume that Maya had moved their shop from Taxco to Mexico by that time and were either no longer making silver jewelry or simply were not adding the mark (which was frequently the case for many and eventually led to the breakdown of that requirement).
I hope that this summary of Maya Mexico marks will be of help to you in knowing more about your collection.
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