Lydia Courteille, Xochimilco Garden

Mexican magic inspires Lydia Courteille's exotic new jewels - and watch out for that spider.

Lydia Courteille. Colibri earrings, orange Mexican opals, orange sapphires, green garnet, blackened gold. MAIN PIC

Lydia Courteille, the Parisian jeweller and antique jewels dealer, has plundered the rich history and colours of Mexico to bring a macabre yet vividly hued collection of jewels that are not for the faint hearted. Opals feature strongly, a stone native to the land of the Aztecs. Skulls so beloved of the ancient people of Mexico are present as are some dangerous beasties and creepy crawlies such as the opal spider.

Xochimilco, the Aztec name for what is now Mexico City was once a city of waterways and canals, the Venice of the New World.The name means place of flowers and Courteille captures the mystery and marvels of this ancient civilization destroyed by the Spanish conquistadors. But this is no pre-colonial utopia, amongst the delicate humming birds and shy lizards of this lost garden lurk menacing spiders, scarabs and skeletons. Yet it is a fascinating place that draws you in to explore, if you dare. Explore the delights and dark side of the city of Xochimilco, which I can assure you, is no bed of roses.

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