After a recent trip to Cancun, I shared vacation pictures with the Red Hen. She pointed out that I was wearing a pair of her earrings from Monterrey, which she purchased in the late 1970s. Always in style and rather versatile, these hoops were a staple of my getaway jewelry.

Mexican silver gets a tarnish that sterling and other silvers just can’t compete with. It’s warm, dark grey, and you don’t want to rub it off. In the 10+ years I’ve had these earrings, I’ve never taken a polishing cloth to them, and the Red Hen did nothing more than store them with other earrings in a larger cloth bag.

As you know, sterling silver is .925 — but Mexican silver is actually finer at .950 (meaning it’s 95% pure silver and 5% other metals). From 1930-1945, Mexican silver was actually.980, making it closer to what is used for bullion (.999). This also means that Mexican silver, especially vintage, is much softer and prone to denting or other damage.

A quick perusal of Etsy led me to these beauties — if you don’t have any Mexican silver in your jewelry box, you are missing out on a staple! I’m a sucker for a cabochon stone, particularly when it comes to turquoise, jade, or other veiny stone. When set in Mexican silver, the stone takes on an importance not otherwise seen.

Sources: necklace, hoops, paisley, studs, bracelet