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Although one of the twentieth century's most prolific creators of handmade jewelry, William Spratling stood consciously outside the modernist movement thatt flourished during his career. Trained as an architect, he was introduced to the idea of jewelry making during sojourns in Mexico beginning in 1926. In 1929 he moved to Taxco, Mexico, the site of centuries-old silver mines, and set up a company of local artisans to revive the art of silver hollowware and jewelry. His designs were inspired primarily by pre-Columbian motifs. This venture became an enormous success, especially during World War II and immediately after when department stores in the United States were cut off from European suppliers of luxury goods. Unfortunately, Spratling lost control of his company to other investors, and by 1946 Spratling y Artesanos was out of business. Thanks to his apprenticeship system, however, his legacy continues in Mexico today.

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