Seeing in person reinforces understanding. Darryl Dean Begay holds a torch up to tufa stones to liquify sterling silver into cavities with carved designs cut by Darryl Dean Begay and by Ric Charlie. Other artists (Gene Bille, Phil Begay, Ray Scott) demonstrated stampwork, creation of overlay as well as stone selection and setting. Mr. Scott was particularly compelling, sharing his emotional commitment to making jewelry.
All artists shared a preference for using the finest materials available, such as the top 5% qualitatively of turquoise in their creations.
A number of other jewelers, men and women, representing Navajo, Zuni, Cochiti, San Felipe as well as Fond Du Lac Band of Ojibway cultures made their work available to attendees in the form of a jewelers’ market. Many admitted learning their “craft” from family members beginning as young as age five.
Advice on avoiding inferior and/ or fake American Indian jewelry was offered.
ALWAYS take advantage of learning opportunities stretching beyond book learning. To find out more about their over 45 members and to learn when members of this relatively recently formed organization will be coming your way, visit www.NativeJewelersSociety.com
Corinne Cain of SavvyCollector.com