Doris Smith Chamberlin was born in Dallas, Texas. After taking post graduate courses in art, she decided to move to California, where she taught classes in woodworking, textiles and silver. In search of a higher altitude, she traveled to Mexico City, where she relocated. In 1945 she opened her own metal and leather workshop. By 1950, she had 25 artisans working for her. Her address was No. 9 Garcia Lorca, Mexico City. There was sign over the door which said "Watch Us Make It! Doris, Silver".
Her specialty designs were peach blossoms, sunflowers and ancient Aztec motifs.
In a 1950 interview, Doris stated that she sometimes executed the "exotic and eccentric" designs for "that young American in Paris, Hubert Harmon". This statement is important because it helps date and verify Harmon's brief stay in Mexico. We know from the Harmon research that he was living on the French Riviera in 1951, after having left Taxco. (see our Hubert Harmon research page)
Doris used Silver from the Mexican Silver Bank, stones from all over the world, but her opals were from Mexico. You will see that our dragon pin has a beautiful opal eye.
I noticed when I found these 2 brooches together that the quality was atypical of much of the silver jewelry coming from Mexico at that time. In the same 1950 interview, she revealed the reason - she did not use dyes for her designs. The work was assigned to the most accomplished silversmith, who was paid a 10% bonus when he turned in a flawless piece. Therefore she did not have to worry about her designs being copied, as it would have been too expensive and difficult of a task to do so.
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