What is a Shadowbox?

Recently a customer ordered a shadowbox item from our store and when she received it, she was shocked saying “but it is hollow, it is not solid !!” We used the term shadowbox in the description and showed all kinds of views revealing the construction but perhaps if  a person has never seen a shadowbox, he or she might not know what they are looking at and what to expect.

Shadowbox Belt Buckle - Wilbur Musket, Navajo

Shadowbox Belt Buckle – Wilbur Musket, Navajo

A common jewelry technique used by Navajo and other Native American silversmiths to add interest and layering to a piece is a shadowbox.

The shadowbox technique consists of a cutout top layer that is usually domed and that is soldered to a solid bottom layer.

Vintage Shadowbox Ring

Vintage Shadowbox Ring

The cutout design on the top can vary from paw prints to kokopelli to blanket designs – limited only by the designer’s imagination.

Shadowbox Bolo Tie with Paw Prints

Shadowbox Bolo Tie with Paw Print Cutouts

The bottom layer might be left bright silver or oxidized to give a dark contrast to the cutout design.

Shadowbox Bracelet by Pauline Benally, Navajo

Shadowbox Bracelet by Pauline Benally, Navajo —-the underlayer has a darkened (oxidized) background for a contrasting accent.

Stones are often set into the shadowbox – some artists let the stones protrude somewhat out of the top of the shadowbox and others use stones that when set are flush with the cutout layer.

Shadowbox ring showing one flush (turquoise) and one protruding (coral) piece

Shadowbox ring showing one flush (turquoise) and one protruding (coral) piece

Paula

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Jacob Poleviyouma, Jr. – Hopi Bear Paw Watch Tips

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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.

Hallmark of Hopi Jacob Poleviyouma, Jr.

Hallmark of Hopi Jacob Poleviyouma, Jr.

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.

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Paula

Lawrence Saufkie carried on the Hopi Tradition of Overlay

Lawrence Saufkie (1935-2011), Hopi Pueblo, Bear Clan, was the son of Paul Saufkie Sr. and Ruby Saufkie and brother of Andrew Saufkie, Paul Saufkie, Jr., Vaughn Saufkie; husband of Griselda Saufkie; father of Wilmer Saufkie Lomayaoma; uncle of Bob Sekakuku.

Lawrence_SaufkieLawrence learned silverwork, particularly overlay, from his father Paul Saufkie Sr. His father and Fred Kaboutie began perfecting this style in the 1930s and when Hopi soldiers returned from World War II, they began teaching them the method.

What is Overlay?

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.

BU129-BG-bearpaw-saufkie-2

Throughout his life, Lawrence was a great ambassador of Hopi jewelry and a teacher to many.

His hallmark is a bear and SAUFKIE like this

Hallmark of Lawrence Saufkie, Hopi

Hallmark of Lawrence Saufkie, Hopi

Lawrence Saufkie was a Hopi silversmith for more than 60 years. In 1998, he was recognized by the American Museum of Natural History for his contributions to this art form and was the recipient of the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts Lifetime Achievement Award.

Lawrence Saufkie was designated an Arizona Living Treasure in 2002. He has been featured in numerous magazines and books and his work has been collected by museums such as the Heard Museum, the Museum of Northern Arizona, the Peabody Museum, and Harvard University.

BU129-BG-bearpaw-saufkie-1Paula

Little info in Canada on Hopi hallmarks – can you help?

June 26. 2014

Hi Paula.  I hope you can help me.  I have spent hours and hours and hours trying to identify some Hopi jewellery that i bought in the 70’s. I live in Canada, and there is little help up here  identifying  South West Jewellery.  I have two silver overlay Hopi  pins, both with the same ‘signature’ on the back.  The signature is sort of like a ‘W’ .  I have searched available sites on line that list signatures, but have not found anything.  I also tried searching the images of pieces that seemed similar, and I came up with a definite similarity to a pin/pendant by Victor Coochwytewa (I should be so lucky!)

Could your recommend someone who might be able to help me with signed pottery?  I have small items by Marie G. Romero from Jemez, Gloria Gachupin from the Zia Pueblo, and a beautiful pot by Rondina Huma, Tewa.
Thank you for any help.
elain genser

Hopi kachina hallmark Hopi kachina pin (2) hopi kachina pin Hopi RoadRunner Roadrunner markHi Elain,

Thank you for your patience. As you can see, due to the volume of questions we receive, it takes about a month for a question to work its way to the top of the queue.

I know nothing about pottery, so perhaps another reader might reply to that.

Elain, you also sent photos of a bracelet. If you want to resubmit that as a separate question like you did with this pin question, I’ll put it in the queue.

Now to the hallmark on these wonderful collectible Hopi pins.

The W hallmark is actually that of a lightning bolt with two arrowheads, one on each end. There is a bit of patina there occluding the hallmark. That hallmark is of McBride Lomayestewa, a Hopi artist of the Snow Clan from the village of Shungopavi who was born in 1932.  He began work in 1956 and died in 2002.

He learned his craft at the Hopi Guild. He is brother of Mark and Clarence.

Now that you know the artist’s name you can do a search and learn more about him and see other examples of his work.

Enjoy your treasures !

Paula

To view our full list of article or to ask a jewelry question, follow the instructions here

http://www.horsekeeping.com/native-american-jewelry-artifacts.htm

If you are selling your jewelry, read this

http://www.horsekeeping.com/jewelry/pawn-buying.htm

Visit our pawn shop for your research and shopping

http://www.horsekeeping.com/jewelry/pawn/pawnshop-vin.htmN229-disc-2712-hopi-3

Hopi Belt Buckle Hallmark Help Please

Hello Paula..
First thanks for your site..Very nice..
I have a Hopi belt buckle I purchased around 1986  at a gallery / art center on 2nd Mesa….I believe  the hallmark is an R &  A  combined , where the bottom of the R has a horozontial line to look like an A ..Any idea who that might be.?
Thank you , Elaine
buckle hopi 004buckle.2smHI Elaine,
What a GREAT buckle !!
According to Hopi Silver by Margaret Nickelson Wright, that hallmark is attributed to Ramon (Albert Jr.) Dalangyawma who began silver work in 1978. He learned silversmithing at Hopicrafts which was a private enterprise from 1961-1983.
Ramon (Albert Jr.) Dalangyawma has a Navajo mother and Hopi father.
Paula
To view our full list of article or to ask a jewelry question, follow the instructions here
If you are selling your jewelry, read this
NBU185-coyote-maze-josytewa-1

Cyrus Josytewa Hopi Sterling Silver Overlay Coyote / Wolf Maze Buckle

Unique Bracelet has Inlay on the Inside of the Cuff !!

May 20, 2014

Hi Paula, thanks for taking the time to read my email.

So I have been an admirer of southwestern jewelry since my early childhood going to flea markets and estate sales with my parents.

No that I’m older an can afford to buy some I have begun to develope a small collection of men’s bracelet and rings.

So onto my question:
While shopping at an estate sale this weekend, I came across LITERALLY the most amazing piece of SW jewelry I have ever seen. Firstly, It is HEAVY (I haven’t weighed it but the band is like a THICK and the cuff is 2 inches wide on the wrist).
Secondly there is an engraved geometric insect disign on the top side with a big polished hunk of quality (bisbee?, blue mountain? Turquoise) making up the insects abdomen section.
Now the most interesting/unique part is that when you flip the cuff over the inside of the band has an absolutely AMAZING geometric coral/onyx/turquoise/wood inlaid disign occupying the entire inside band.
 It is signed in old style script  (which has been half rub off – by taking it on and off I presume) from what it looks like, it reads B. Jexxxxx … I researched pretty extensively online and can’t find any signatures or really even jewelry examples that are seem very similar to it. I was hoping you could give me some insight, or point my research inthe right direction.
So in your opinion, this piece looks to be authentic native american? Contemporary or vintage/antique? I am a newbie to the collecting field and have limited knowledge to things of this quality. I love the piece regardless (it’s just so darn pretty).
Also, None of this information you provide will be used to sell this piece – I love it way to much to ever sell it – I bought it has a birthday present to myself, and can say with all honesty, that it makes me happier than just about anything I have ever purchased for myself.
Thanks again for taking the time to respond, and for providing a valuable resource to those of us new to collecting Native American Jewelry.
Paula, Here are the best photos i could get of the signature…. at first I thought it was a script B. Te….. much of the signature has been rubbed off over time… I spent time yesterday looking at native silver smith hallmarks and the best i could come up with was Doris Smallcanyon…. as she seems to sometimes sign her name with a big looping D. and a stylized S
Again, thanks so much for taking the time.
Hope to hear black for you,
Chad
15HI Chad,
Your beautiful and unique bracelet is the work of Bobby Tewa (Bobby Darrell, Tewanoitewa) , a San Juan Tewa/Hopi silversmith that began work in 1974. He was a silversmith for Santa Fe Associates Inc. and began using this hallmark in 1980.
He was born in 1948 and is an award winning artist of  mosaic inlay and overlay. He lives in San Juan Pueblo, New Mexico.
His items have won awards, have been exhibited in various markets and books and are in collections, including the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.
He learned his craft from the San Juan jewelry program and served in the US Marine Corps.
Now that you know the artist’s name you could type in “Bobby Tewa” in google and then click images and you will see more examples of his work plus a few photos of the artist himself.
You found a treasure ! Enjoy.
Paula
To view our full list of article or to ask a jewelry question, follow the instructions here

If you are selling your jewelry, read this

http://www.horsekeeping.com/jewelry/pawn-buying.htm

Visit our pawn shop for your research and shopping

http://www.horsekeeping.com/jewelry/pawn/pawnshop-vin.htm

NBS325-med-kokopelli-lindsay-1

What is the significance of my Hopi bracelet?

May 8, 2014
Hi, Paula!

My name is Chelsea and I had a few questions about a Hopi overlay bracelet I got as a gift a few years ago.

I have been trying to research what the different symbols mean and exactly who the artist is. There is a capital “T” outlined next to the word sterling. The capital T is not filled.

On the bracelet, there are waves across the top with another symbol underneath lining the bracelet that I have not been able to find anywhere online.

I never take the bracelet off and it is important to me to figure out what it all means.

Thank you for your help! I hope you’re having a great day🙂

Chelsea

!cid_54A921EC-5951-47A6-84CA-1F3367AA77C2 !cid_F23AD5A3-F2DE-4AC6-8D81-44CB9E0A61A2Hi Chelsea,

The thick T that is not filled in is actually an antelope rattle, the hallmark of Hopi artist Floyd Namingha Lomakuyvaya of the Strap Clan in the village of Shungopavi. He learned from Kenneth Kuwanvayouma and started producing in 1973.

I can see why you are wearing this bracelet every day – it is beautiful.

As far as the symbolism, Hopi designs can be quite stylized. The waves are pretty certainly there to represent water. As far as the bottom portion of the design, I think it is half of a badger paw but I am not sure. Perhaps others might chime in as to what the lower half of the design represents.

Paula

To view our full list of article or to ask a jewelry question, follow the instructions here
http://www.horsekeeping.com/native-american-jewelry-artifacts.htm

If you are selling your jewelry, read this
http://www.horsekeeping.com/jewelry/pawn-buying.htm

Visit our pawn shop for your research and shopping
http://www.horsekeeping.com/jewelry/pawn/pawnshop-vin.htm

NBS308-ABCDE-josytewa-1