I had a wonderful chat with Libert Peyketewa’s son, Clybert Peyketewa, and here is what he told me, which is somewhat at odds with what is stated in the hallmark books:
“Clybert’s father, the late Libert Peyketewa, was taught needlepoint and silverwork by his father and mother, LaVern Peyketewa and Victoria Amasoila. When Libert married, he taught his wife Carol the stone work while he continued to do the silverwork. After Libert passed away, his wife never remarried and and discontinued the jewelry making. Clybert figures this set was made in the late 1980s.
“Most Libert Peyketewa sets we’ve seen have only two or maybe three pieces. This is a rare set that has four pieces. Color of necklace, bracelet and earrings matches very well, the ring is a bit more green.
Peridot is a transparent green variety of the mineral olivine that is used as a popular gemstone. It is the birthstone for August and its use in jewelry dates back to the Egyptian pharaohs. It ranges in color from yellowish green to dark lime green. It is found throughout the world but the largest known deposit of gem quality stones is in the United States on the San Carlos Apache Reservation in Arizona. Peridot is both a day stone and a night stone, keeping its shining color even under artificial lighting. For this reason, it is sometimes called “Evening Emerald”. Although Peridot can be pronounced both with and without the “t” at the end, most professionals in the gem trade pronounce the “t”.
This ring is marked WC – if anyone knows the maker, please let me know ! Thanks Paula
Navajo silversmith and artist Roland Dixson produces traditional sterling silver pieces with excellent stampwork.
Characteristics of his style include scalloped edges with deeply domed centers.
The stamping is deep, intricate and not repetitive from piece to piece. He also incorporates repousse as evidenced in the photo showing the back of the buckle.
Repousse is a technique whereby metal is hammered into relief from the reverse side.
From the pieces that have come through our store, it appears that Roland Dixson uses only natural, untreated turquoise. Here is his hallmark.
I don’t know much about this artist so if anyone has any biographical information, I’d love to hear it.
Jacob Poleviyouma, Jr.
Jacob Poleviyouma, Jr. was of the Hopi Sun Clan in the Shungopavi-Hotevilla Pueblo. He learned his craft at the Hopi Silvercraft Cooperative Guild in Second Mesa, Arizona and produced jewelry from 1976 until his death in 1986.
Hopi Silvercraft Guild
The Hopi Silvercraft Guild was formed in 1949 by the Indian Arts and Crafts Board and the Hopi Government Agency. For twenty years, the Guild provided classes, a central workshop and a stable marketing outlet for Hopi made items.
When this beautiful inlay bracelet by Merle House Jr. came into our store,
I just had to have it…………it matched a pendant and ring I have by him which I love to wear.
BUT the bracelet was gallons too big. Made to fit a 7 1/2″ wrist, I didn’t know if it could be closed up enough to fit my 6 3/4″ wrist.
The silver measured 5 3/4″ end to end. It was the gap that was the bad boy – at 1 3/4″ it would allow the bracelet to roll and fall off my wrist. If it could be closed at least 1/2″, down to a 1 1/4″ gap maximum, I think that could work for me – still enough of a gap to get on and off but it would stay on. It would likely be a little lose but for these big heavy ones, I kind of like them moving a bit.
I asked Diane at Old Town if Henry could possibly do that and she said “NO PROBLEM!”
I asked Diane what is involved in resizing an inlay bracelet and here is what she said:
“It’s a commonly held belief that inlaid bracelets cannot be sized because of the risk of stones popping out or breaking. It can, however, be done by a skilled silversmith with the right tools, materials and experience.
The simplest style to resize have stones inlaid on less than half of the length of the bracelet (like Paula’s).
Special tools and a lot of patience will allow the silversmith to bend only the sections of bracelet that have no stones. The inlaid portion will not change its shape, and the stones will remain secure.
If more than half of the length is covered with stones, the silversmith can lift the stones out of the bracelet, reshape the bracelet, and then carefully set the stones back in place. There are a few adjustments to be made, however, as the “bed” for the stones will now be a different size. If the bracelet is being made smaller, the curved bed will become longer – then tiny slivers of stone will be added to fill the gaps. More difficult is if the bracelet is being made larger – the curved bed becomes shorter so some of the stones will be filed ever so slightly to fit correctly without binding.
Resizing a favorite inlaid bracelet can be time consuming, but may be well worth the investment for the enjoyment of wearing it! “
So here it is back to me and WOW, my dream came true.
Many thanks to Diane and Henry for yet another successful jewelry modification/repair !
We recommend Old Town for Native American jewelry repairs. They do all of the repairs for our store and we are thoroughly satisfied with their work.
Old Town Trading Co. / Jewels of the West
4009 N. Brown Ave.
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
“The Navajo were the first Southwest American Indians to work silver……A man named Astidi Sani (Old Smith) is credited by historians as being the fist Navajo silversmith. His Spanish name was Herrero Delgadito (Little Ironworker). Reportedly he acquired a basic knowledge of ironworking in 1853 from a Mexican blacksmith/silversmith.”
From Indian Jewelry, Fact & Fantasy by Marsha Land
Early Navajo metalwork was limited to iron and was for utilitarian purposes (knife blades, bits), not adornment.
Mexican Silversmiths (plateros), on the other hand, were typically adorned with silver as a display of their wealth and, for some, their metal-working skills – silver concha belts, buckles, buttons on shirts and down the sides of pants, hat bands, silver embellished saddles and headstalls and much more.
This side view of a pair of vintage Mexican charro pants (circa 1890) give you an idea of the lavish silver embellishments. An example of an ornate vintage Mexican silver saddle.
John Lawrence Hubbell opened his first trading post at Ganado, Arizona in 1873. When the well-dressed nomadic plateros came to the Ganado area, the Navajo took notice. Soon they began to trade horses and livestock to the plateros in exchange for learning metal-working skills.
Hubbell saw the potential in of Navajo silverwork for his trading post so he brought in two Mexican silversmiths (Thick Lips and Benedito) to teach their skills to the Navajo he had working for him.
From Navajo Silver, a brief history of Navajo Silversmithing
The dictionary mentioned in the following quote was published in 1910.
For a much more detailed account of Atsidi Sani AKA Herrero, as well as how Navajo smiths learned silver casting methods from plateros and much more………. read John Adair’s book:
Metal-working skills were passed from the Spaniards to the Mexicans and then to the Navajo. Interestingly, early Navajo silversmiths chose to use leather stamping tools for their designs, thus distinguishing Navajo pieces from Mexican silver work early on.
Watch for more on this topic in a future post.