Treasures from the City of the Gods
My friend proposed a visit to the pyramids while we were in Mexico. I had this grand notion that visiting and climbing as many pyramids as I could during this trip, as some sort of self-imposed pilgrimage, would round out a very intense year for me. A little communion with the gods to welcome in a better new year, or something like that.
So a couple friends and I trekked out to Teotihuacán, the famed pyramids of Mexico. It was an ancient Mesoamerican city, and the largest urban center before the Aztecs even came around. Teotihuacán’s history is somewhat mysterious to scholars. In fact, it was only unearthed/discovered about 100 years ago! Baffling how something so large could be hidden for so long.
History lesson aside, the ruins are impressive, and carry equally impressive names: the Avenue of the Dead runs the entire length of the ancient city, linking the Temple of Quetzalcoatl (see figure below), the Pyramid of the Moon and the Pyramid of the Sun. We went during peak tourist season, which was a bit of a Where’s Waldo experience, but nonetheless did not detract from the grandeur.
The valley surrounding Teotihuacán is known for its obsidian production. Obsidian was an essential material in the ancient cultures there and throughout Mexico. I visited an artisan workshop where they turn out gorgeous obsidian sculptures and jewelry, some with a rare green sheen (see below) found only in the valley. While there I picked up a rare obsidian—rainbow obsidian (or arco iris, a word I’m hugely fond of in Spanish)—necklace you can shop below. Though that particular obsidian comes from Jalisco, the piece was worked at the artisan shop.
Quite uncharacteristic for the region, the artisan workshop was also a silver smith workshop. I originally thought that most silver work in Mexico came from around Taxco. I was told that was a common misconception, and that their workshop actually sends pieces to Taxco to sell. The workshop produced truly exquisite silver craftsmanship, rivaled only by some of my favorite filigree work in Turkey.
I picked up some earrings, each link (and there are many) of which is handmade and assembled, creating this almost mini tapestry of silver. These earrings represent a unique esthetic of the workshop. I also could not pass up on a gorgeous Guadalupe pendant. Religious affiliation aside, I’m quite taken with the objective beauty of the iconography itself.
--Jess, Founder & Principal Shopper, Le Mondeur