Native American Hopi Sterling Silver Overlay
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The Hopi are Native Americans that live in northeastern Arizona surrounded by the Navajo reservation. The name Hopi is an abbreviation of Hopi’sinom which means “People who Live in the Correct Way”.
The Hopi religion is based on total reverence and respect for all things. The traditional life includes many cultural and religious ceremonies.
Their art and traditional crafts reflect their beliefs. They are noted for kachina dolls, pottery and jewelry, most notably silver overlay work.
With silver overlay, there are two layers of silver. The top layer is a scene, figures, or symbols meticulously cut out and then place on a solid silver layer.
The bottom layer is the background behind the cutouts and is traditionally darkened (oxidized) for contrast. In addition the same areas are usually etched with hashmarks.
The two layers are “sweated” together – that is, the silver is heated so that the two layers meld.
The result is a 3-D picture with great depth and interest.