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~ Native American
Indian Silversmiths ~
Please note that the biographical information provided below is from a variety of sources, including our own personal knowledge. Two notable sources include: American Indian Arts Series Volume 5, "American Indian Jewelry, 1,200 Biographies," a book from CIAC Press by Gregory Schaaf, Ph.D. with assistance by Angie Yan Schaaf; and "Hallmarks of the Southwest," written by Barton Wright, and published by Schiffer Publishing (see link below).
Becenti, Harold (Navajo)
Signs his work with his initials stacked with the "H" above the "B."
Begay, Paul (Navajo Nation)
From Gallup, NM he signs his work, "P.J. Begay."
Benally, Janelle (Navajo Nation)
Signs her work with her former husband's (Terry Wadsworth) hallmark which is a frog.
Bighand, Emma Jean (Navajo Nation)
Born and raised on the Navajo Reservation in northwest New Mexico, she lives near Crownpoint. Emma is well respected as a silversmith and has been making jewelry since 1984. The shape of the natural turquoise stones she uses inspire her deigns. She signs her work as, "Emma Bighand" and as "E. J. Bighand" in cursive letters.
Bitsui, Harrison (Navajo)
Currently signs his work, "H Bit's" Formerly signed pieces with his initials, "HB."
Blackgoat, Arnold (Navajo Nation)
Signs his work, "BLKGT".
Bowekaty, Traci (Zuni Pueblo)
Silversmith from Zuni Pueblo. Signs her work, "TEB Z" and "TE Bowekaty Zuni".
Charlie, Thomas (Navajo Nation)
Tommie was born and raised in a small town about 30 miles outside of Albuquerque, NM and has been a silversmith for over thirty years. Signs his work with his initials, "TC"
Etsate, Bev (Zuni Pueblo)
Mother of Tracy Bowekaty, she signs her work "Bev Etsate, Zuni Pueblo.
Gordon, D. (Navajo Nation)
Signs his work, "D Gordon".
Harvey, Herbert (Navajo Nation)
Signs his work, "HH".
Jack, Verdy (Navajo Nation)
Verdy Jack (pronounced "Jake"), grew up in a family of 13 children. Her oldest brother began silversmithing and taught the rest of his siblings, including Verdy. Her hallmark is a "V". She lives in Smith Lake on the Navajo Reservation. She is in her 30's and has four children.
John, Mary (Navajo Nation)
Mary John is an outgoing person. Two dimples appear on the sides of her mouth when she smiles or laughs. She lives and works in Albuquerque, NM. A local Indian jewelry company hired her in 1993 and taught her everything she knows about silversmithing. Mary makes earrings, pins, pendants, and bracelets. She excels at silver stamp work, stone setting, and cut silver designs. She signs her work with a single "M". "I'm always interested in learning more about my craft," she says. When she is not working Mary enjoys cooking, going to the movies, and playing bingo.
Lee, Leon (Navajo Nation)
Marble, Linda (Navajo Nation)
Linda Marble is from a family with a history as silversmiths. She has been working silver for over 40 years, starting as a child in Ft. Defiance, Arizona. She specializes in the traditional method of hand carved tufa casting and in sand casting creating beautiful pieces of jewelry. Linda signs her work with her initials "LM." Her brother is the renowned silversmith Harry Morgan. Harrison Bitsui is her cousin.
Morgan, Harry (Navajo Nation)
Harry Morgan is a widely renowned and well respected Navajo silversmith and recognized as one of the outstanding Native American jewelers. Harry was born and raised on the Navajo reservation, began casting silver at age 7, started silversmithing at 12 years old, and has been a professional silver and goldsmith since 1965. He graduated from Gallup High School and received a 4 year scholarship from the Navajo Nation to study engineering, but Harry dreamed of being a rodeo cowboy. After achieving satisfaction in those endevours, Harry returned to making jewelry and has established a reputation for distinctively traditional pieces of great quality. Harry Morgan signs his work, "H. Morgan", and also stamps his pieces "Sterling."
Morgan, Henry (Navajo Nation)
Henry is likewise an accomplished silversmith who specializes in sandcast pieces. Brother of Linda Marble and the late Harry Morgan, he signs his work with the letter "M" as his hallmark.
Montano, Gibson (Navajo Nation)
Nelson, Peter Nez (Navajo Nation)
Navajo artist Peter Nelson was born to Tsinnijinnie (Blackgoat) clan and for Copah (Water) clan in 1954 at Keams Canyon Hospital. He was named Peter for the doctor who delivered him. His mother, Jeanette Nez, was taken to the hospital by an uncle (Joseph Nelson), because Peter's father worked for the railroad and was not home. Mr. Nelson signed the birth certificate, so Peter's name became Nelson instead of Nez.
Peter grew up at White Cone, Arizona, attending school at Greasewood and Dilcon. He graduated from High School at IAIA (Institute of American Indian Arts) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was at IAIA that he learned silversmithing, painting, and sculpture. Though he is known today as a silversmith, he still produces one painting each year.
In the early 1980's Peter met Shirley George, who later became his wife. They are the parents of 3 daughters and have 2 grandsons.
Peter has shown his jewelry at the Santa Fe Indian Market, the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, and the Museum of Northern Arizona. The MNA has awarded Peter's work as "Best of Show" several times. He also has numerous awards from the Indian Market.
Today, Peter Nelson's unique style combining traditional and contemporary Navajo styles is enjoyed by many collectors around the world. His intricate overlay designs, some that incorporate 14K gold, are beautiful and popular expressions of his art.
Reeves, Gary (Navajo Nation)
Reeves, Sunshine (Navajo Nation)
Sunshine Reeves is a most talented and popular Navajo silversmith. His work is distinctively and heavily stamped. Pieces range from bracelets to round and square lidded boxes and even to hand built kerosene lanterns that are amazing works of art. The extent and precision of his handstamped design work is quite distinctive. He stamps his work, "Sterling" and typically signs his pieces with his name, "Sunshine Reeves" in upper case letters. Gary Reeves is his brother.
Tahe, Florence (Navajo Nation)
More information on additional American Indian Silversmiths
Please check back with us for this information.
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