San Antonio jewelry designer Carolyn Dublin is offering a new “Loteria” line of jewelry featuring images from the popular Mexican card game. “La Loteria,” is similar to American bingo, but rather than numbers, uses images that all have their own stories and have become ingrained in Latin American culture over generations.
“I taught my three children how to play Loteria, using dried pinto beans to mark each square,” Dublin said, noting that her designs grew out of her own living experience in San Antonio, where Latino culture dominates the city’s population and landscape.
Her first 10 Loteria jewelry designs include “La Rana” (the frog), “La Mano” (the hand), “La Calavera” (the skull), “La Luna” (the moon), “La Rosa” (the rose), “El Diablito” (the little devil), “La Sirena” (the mermaid), “La Bandera” (the flag), “La Arana” (the spider) and “El Gallo” (the rooster).
“When I wear this jewelry, I am struck by the strong emotions it provokes in people – young and old,” Dublin said. “They start telling me the stories of their own Loteria memories, often about how their Moms or Grandmothers taught them to play the game, or how they were given childhood nicknames related to the Loteria images.”
“La Loteria” originated in Italy, moved to Spain and then was brought to Mexico in 1769. The images that represent Loteria today come from designs finalized in 1912 by Don Clemente Jacques. The Mexican company bearing his name – Don Clemente, Inc. of Queretaro, Mexico – has continued this version through the generations, keeping the original artwork for its 54 Loteria cards.