Bright copper, brass, and tinware; sturdy ironwork; and razor-sharp knives and machetes are made in a number of regional centers. Copperware, from jugs, cups, and plates to candlesticks—and even the town lampposts and bandstand—all come from Santa Clara del Cobre, a few miles south of Pátzcuaro, Michoacán.
Although not the source of brass itself, Tonalá, in the Guadalajara eastern suburb, is the place where brass is most abundant and beautiful, appearing as menageries of brilliant, fetching birds and animals, sometimes embellished with shiny nickel highlights.
Several Oaxaca family factories turn out piles of fine cutlery—knives, swords, and machetes—scrolled cast-iron grillwork, and a swarm of bright tinware, or hojalata (oh-hah-LAH-tah), mirror frames, masks, and glittering Christmas decorations.
Be sure not to miss the miniature milagros, one of Mexico’s most charming forms of metalwork. Usually of brass, they are of homely shapes—a horse, dog, or baby, or an arm, head, or foot—which, accompanied by a prayer, the faithful pin to the garment of their favorite saint whom they hope will intercede to cure an ailment or fulfill a wish. Look for them at pilgrimage basilicas, such as Zapopan (suburban Guadalajara), Talpa (mountains east of Puerto Vallarta), and San Juan de los Lagos, northeast of Guadalajara.