Native American Sterling Silver Cast Jewelry

Native American Sterling Silver Cast Jewelry

Native American cast items are handmade items using one of several processes and materials. Sand cast items use a procedure developed by the Egyptians and introduced to the Dine’ (Navajo) in the 1880s,

To sand cast, you first must have one original pieces as the model or template. Using a special sand with a high clay content two halves of a box are filled with sand and packed. The template is pressed into the sand and the two halves are put together and pounded so that the sand takes on the impression of the original piece.

The boxes are carefully separated and the model piece is removed leaving behind the impression. Sprues and air vents are added from the piece impression to the edges and the two boxes are bound together. Molten metal is poured into the mold.

The box is separated, the newly cast piece is removed.

Tufa casting is used by many Navajo casters today.

Using a block of  Tuff Stone, a porous rock from volcanic ash, Tufa Stone, a porous limestone that forms near hot springs, or Sandstone, a harder stone, the artist carves the design of the item being cast, taking care to make the edges angled in such a way that the metal doesn’t stick into corners.

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A sprue hole is carved into one end and another flat stone is placed against the carved half of the mold. The halves are fastened together.  Molten silver is poured into the mold using the sprue hole. Once the silver cools, the item is taken out and finished.

Hand made Native American Indian Jewelry; Navajo Sterling Silver  Navajo bracelet






Sandcast sterling silver bracelets, like the one above by Francis Begay are poured flat and then shaped.

Due to the porous nature of the materials used, cast items often  will have character marks and imperfections such as small pits. That is the nature of Sand Casting and Indian Hand Made items.

Some artists destroy the casting stones after each piece, others use them for several castings. 


10 thoughts on “Native American Sterling Silver Cast Jewelry

  1. I decided I deserved a gift. Going through a very rough time at my job, feeling low. So, I decide, what the heck…I deserve it!

    Well, the sand cast jewelry is simply gorgeous. Everyone that sees it can’t take their eyes off of it. Very reasonably priced as well!

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  4. Anthony Lovato makes some excellent tufta jewelery. I have a Corn Watch Cuff by him that was made in 1991. It is made out of silver and has gold rain drops and ears of corn attached to it. He adorned it two stones of Lapis Luzi. I always get compliments when I wear it. One of my favorite pieces.

  5. When I was a teen in the 70’s I bought a silver ring at the store in Yosemite. It was beautiful and I loved it. I lost it on a beach. I have never forgotten it, I know my ring was sandcast. Wish I could locate another one!! Kelly

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