William Spratling "River of Life" Bangle

Value (2014) | $1,000 Auction$2,000 Auction

I have brought a bracelet that my mother gave me several years ago and she bought it before she was married. I believe it was in the ‘40s. And she told me she paid 35 dollars for it. I know she likes estate jewelry and she was interested in older pieces. I did look it up in a book several years ago and found out it was Spratling Silver. It was collectible and that's all I know.

Do you know where your mother might have bought it?

I believe she bought it in St. Louis.

Uh huh. She never traveled to Mexico?

I don't think she did. I've never heard her mention it, but I'll ask her.

Okay, okay. Well your mother's given you something that she bought in the 1940s. The piece is made by William Spratling and he's the father of the Taxco Mexico School of Mexican Artisanal silver jewelry. William Spratling opened his thalia in Mexico in 1931 and this is an early design. It has marks that date if from 1940 to 1948. After 1948 we see an eagle mark on it which is a government standard mark that controls the silver manufacturing in Mexico. By 1940, William Spratling had 300 silver workers in his metal shop.

Oh my goodness.

And many of them went on to head up other Mexican silver shops. Names that we know today, Los Castillos and Hector Aguilar. These are all people who got their start with William Spratling. So this is an important piece of jewelry. It's called the River of Life. It has some damage. Those spherical balls there have been compressed but it's in generally very nice shape for its age.


At an auction, I would give it an estimate of $1,000 to $2,000.

That's fabulous. Thank you Sarah.

You're welcome.

Appraisal Details

Rago Arts & Auction Center
Lambertville, NJ
Appraised value (2014)
$1,000 Auction$2,000 Auction
Kansas City, MO (August 10, 2013)

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