Silversmithing has been practiced for centuries in Mexico. In fact, Mexican silversmiths taught the Navajo of the Southwestern United States their trade. But it took an American named William Spratling to see the opportunity to build on this legacy. He did this in 1931, when he established a retail outlet for Mexican jewelry near the silver-mining center of Taxco. Spratling’s designs borrowed liberally from pre-Columbian motifs found on...