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Hello, 

I have a pendant that came mixed in a collection of Mexican silver jewelry. It measures 4 3/4" by 2 1/4". It appears to have markings on the back in a series of dashes and dots. Does anyone have any clue about this piece's cultural origins or markings? Thank you for your input.

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Hi Emily, I've got a hunch that what you have here is not Mexican jewelry at all. It may have just got mixed into a lot.

Instead what I think you have is Middle Eastern or India origin. The crudeness of the hand-done work is typical of those regions. I'm afraid I don't have a great knowledge of those types of jewelry though. But, maybe get you in the right direction on finding out. :)

Good Luck!

  I spent over 40 years stopping by a variety of local thrift stores in Northern Virginia and likely have at least 50 or more pieces of Mexican jewelry most of which is clearly inscribed "925, Hecho en Mexico and sometimes the city where it was made such as Taxco.  In addition some of the Mexican artisans would add either their initials or other designs (animals) to their jewelry so as to customize their individual work.  I've virtually never seen any authentic Mexican sterling silver that was completely unmarked so I'd have to agree that this was most likely not made in Mexico and almost definitely is not Sterling Silver. Most of the items I found were in thrift stores and were priced very low and in some cases at 100 times less than their actual value even if we consider the price of the Sterling alone. I found that there were many Americans who moved to Mexico in the 1960's and opened their own workshops and would almost always clearly inscribe their jewelry to publicize their shops.  

  To me this appears to be a design based on a human shape with assorted ethnic designs added on and may have been the handiwork of an individual artist who was trying to emulate other artists' work. When I look at this figure with the two "antennae" protruding from its' head I immediately think of an alien creature; that may be just my own judgement and I can't know what other people see in this design.

Vicki and Mark are correct, it's not from Mexico. But it is from ancient Peru, the Incas, Pre-Columbian times. Hard to date it but prior to the discovery of Christopher Columbus of the new world in 1492. Metals were not marked then but gold and silver smithing was known so it could be silver or some other white metal.

Many Inca pendants, pins and earrings have similar shapes. The hole in the center represents pregnancy or birth. It is a Good Luck or Fortune piece.  Where yours is decorated some have abstract lines running different directions and other characters for different characters, natural occurrences, animals, Gods, etc.

No idea on the value.

Sorry, but this is NOT an ancient pre-Columbian piece. You should have it tested, but it doesn't look like it is made of silver; more likely Alpaca. It may be an Inca-style reproduction, but I would have to see some references or links before I would be sure of even that.

Like Jeff says it could be a reproduction, copy, or fake.  It's difficult to say definitely what it is, or isn't, from pictures.

Look closely at the 3 round balls; how are they attached? You have 4 choices, 1) welded, 2) soldered, 3) molded, or 4) hand-hammered/formed.  1& 2 = modern, 3= semi-modern, 4=ancient.

From what I can see, or not see (I don't see any welding, solder, or mold marks), therefore I say "ancient", but I can't see it up close. Maybe the image on Jeff's PC is clearer than mine or else he has x-ray vision.

As for the metal Incas had access to silver and gold; that is known. I do not believe they had the metallurgical knowledge to make alpaca which consists of copper, tin and nickel.  Alpaca is also known as German silver and nickel silver. If modern, then yes it could be any white metal like I said earlier.

And here's me thinking it's very similar to the modern day fad of making ever more fancy bottle openers as necklaces, rings, keyrings and other jewellery.

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