Rafael Melendez (1911 – 1980?) In 1932, Melendez was among the first silversmiths to begin working for William Spratling (“The Father of Mexican Silver”) at Spratling’s workshop, Las Delicias. Melendez also worked for Hector Aguilar in the late 1930’s. In 1939, Melendez opened his own shop called, Plateria Melendez where his most desirable creations were created in the late 1930s and 40s.
Considered by experts as a fine technician, his work was usually done in heavy gauge 980 silver. Melendez’s designs drew from pre Columbian motifs but added a Modernist look. His designs also took their inspiration from daily life in Taxco.
His many brooches, pins, bracelets and necklaces are often pierced with cincel decorations, applied domes and, occasionally cut stones.
He used two versions of his conjoined ‘RM’ mark. When viewed upside down, Melendez’ earlier mark closely resembles the early conjoined ‘WS’ signature of William Spratling.
Many later notable Taxco silversmiths were trained in the Melendez shop. Rafael is also the uncle of noted silver designer, Emma Melendez.