Since the days of the great empires of the Aztec and Mayan, Mexico has had a storied history in jewelry making. Long ago, in Mexico and Central America gold jewelry was worn by the richest of the rich as a symbol of their affluent status or by religious clergy during practices and rituals. Today handmade Mexican jewelry has influences in its ancient civilizations, indigenous tribes and rich Spanish tradition. More recently, Mexican gold pesos were created as a commemoration of Mexico’s independence. These valuable gold coins come in a variety of denominations from 50 pesos to 2 pesos
Mexican gold coins are valuable to collectors and come in a variety of denominations. These coins were first produced by the Mexico City Mint, beginning in 1921 in celebration of Mexico’s independence. Below is a list of Mexican gold coins:
Gold jewelry in Mexico is low to mid in karat – usually 10 karat or 14 karat but it can go as high as 18k or as low as 8k. Stamps are used to identify quality, here are the two common stamps you will see:
In the US, the lowest karat an item can be to be considered “fine gold jewelry” is 10 karat. This is 41.7% gold and 58.3 karat other metals like nickel, silver, copper and zinc.
In Mexico, the standard is even lower at 8 karat. This means that an item defined as gold jewelry stamped 8k is only 33.3% gold and 66.67% other metals.
Below, we will talk more about popular designs including religious pendants and crosses, rope chains, link bracelets and ID bracelets. We will also talk more about the provenance of Mexican gold and how to tell it apart from other golds.
Before we get into where Mexican gold comes from it is important to know that Mexico mines for its gold, making it the world’s 11th biggest producer; it stands behind the United States, Australia, China and Russia.
Mexico’s gold mines are controlled by corporations – many of them foreign – the most influential of them being Canada’s Goldcorp. Mexico’s most productive gold mine is called “Penasquito”, which is known for producing low-grade, hard ore. Here are the other six leading gold mines in Mexico: Fresnillo, La Herradura, Noche Buena, Agnico Eagle, Los Filos and Pinos Altos.
Six Mexican states are responsible for mining the entirety of the country’s gold. Senora is responsible for more than 30% of all gold production in the country, making it the leading state for Mexican gold production. The other five states are Zacatecas, Chihuahua, Guerrero, Durango and San Luis Potosi.
Gold jewelry that is made in Mexico will usually be 10 karat or 14 karat – but it can be lower or higher. The highest grade Mexican gold will be 18k and the lowest, 8k – we’ve seen both. Mexican gold that is 10k will usually be stamped with the number “417”, while 14k gold will usually get a “585” stamp. The way to tell the percentage of gold is to divide the karat by 24. For example, 8 karat gold is 8/24 or 33.33% pure gold. 10 karat gold is 10/24 or 41.7% pure gold.
Compared to other countries, Mexico has a low standard for what is considered gold. In the US, for example, 14 is the average karat for gold jewelry. In Mexico, however, the standard is that jewelry must be 8k or 9k to be gold – Canada has these same low standards.
In Mexico gold jewelry will usually be stamped to let buyers know the karat – for example 10 karat, 14 karat, etc. Real gold jewelry should have a stamp located somewhere on the piece, most commonly on the clasps. If you have a Mexican gold pendant, the bottom or back should be inscribed with the karat. Due to the lower quality of 8 karat gold, the remaining metals added are usually copper, which will make the jewelry appear darker, and more brown in color instead of the bright, yellow color of pure gold.
Mexican gold jewelry can be of incredibly high quality as it is often made by local artisans through traditions that have been passed down generation after generation. Now, let’s look at some of the popular influences seen in Mexican gold jewelry:
Much of modern day Mexican gold jewelry has its influences in the aztec and mayans. Spanish influence is also important in Mexican gold jewelry.
The pieces created in mayan likeness will be intricate containing gold filigree, oversized chains and fine, thin gold wiring.
Aztec-inspired pieces are known for being gem-rich. You will see amethyst, jade, opal and especially turquoise. Ancient aztec jewelers took their profession seriously – inventing drills for more efficient beadwork and techniques for grinding and polishing precious gems.
Additionally, Mexican gold jewelry has Spanish influences, steeped in Catholic religious tradition. These popular pieces can include:
Additionally, gold coin bracelets are very popular, as are rope chains, id bracelets and hoop earrings.
Yes, we love all gold – no matter the karat. So even though Mexican gold is generally lower in karat than US gold, many brokers will purchase it anyway and then melt it down. Legally, in the U.S., you can’t resell 8 karat gold as fine jewelry because the karat is too low for US gold standards – but the piece will find a new life in something else.
Yes. Mexican gold jewelry can be purchased online and in Mexico. If you are buying right in Mexico, here are some tips for shopping:
1) Taxco is known for its silver jewelry.
2) You can find excellent deals on the streets and sidewalks of Mexico’s cities.
3) Search for indie designers at boutiques and bazaars.
4) Religious pendants, crucifix and other Mexican gold pieces can be bought in Mexican
Crown Gold Exchange holds the utmost respect for you and your valuables. When you visit one of our locations, we make sure that you feel welcome, and that your property is protected. We use industry-standard equipment to ensure accurate measurement of your valuables, and we have a special process to keep your valuables safe. Our accuracy enables us to offer you top dollar, and we have several different payment methods available for your convenience, so you won’t be waiting around to get paid.
Crown Gold Exchange will purchase any kind of gold you bring us, including 8-karat, 10-karat, 14-karat, 18-karat, 21-karat, 22-karat, 24-karat, or anything else. We buy gold bars, gold bullion, gold jewelry and some gold plated items like pocket watches. If you happen to be in possession of an exclusive piece made by a top gold designer such as Cartier, Tiffany, Rolex, or Patek Philippe, we will often pay more than the weight of the item. Crown Gold Exchange will also pay more for the Taxco brand. Such special pieces often command a higher price on the secondary market due to their superior craftsmanship.