Hopi silver jewelry is a modern craft


Last Updated: 20 years

Hopi silver jewelry… KEYWORDS: hopi silver jewelry, sterling silver jewelry, modern silver jewelry

Hopi silver jewelry is a modern craft that has existed as an art form only since about 1890. After World War II, returning Hopi servicemen were trained at a silversmithing school founded under the G.I. bill.

The training program lasted eighteen months. The late Paul Saufkie, Sr., was the technical instructor and the late Fred Kobotie, noted Hopi artist and designer, taught design.

When the training ended, the Indian Arts and Crafts Board in Washington, D.C., helped charter a nonprofit corporation-the Hopi Silvercraft Cooperative Guild. Its purpose was to produce, purchase, promote, sell handcrafts and jewelry and to operate related activities.

Although many techniques of making silver were used, the overlay style gradually emerged as the dominate style. This simple, unique, elegant jewelry is now considered essentially “the” Hopi style of jewelry.

Example of Hopi Overlay Jewelry

In overlay, a design is cut out of a flat sheet of silver. The inside of the design is often stamped with a texture pattern and then oxidized to turn it black.

Design are religious and secular, and range from realistic to symbolic. Many are inspired by ancient sources such as potsherds, prehistoric Mimbres design, and early Hohokam figures and petroglyphs.

When you buy from the Hopi Guild, you are buying quality and authentic pieces of jewelry. To assure authenticity, all Guild jewelry bears both the Hopi Guild sun symbol and the individual silversmith’s clan mark (hallmark). Authentic Hopi jewelry sold outside of the guild is usually marked with either the silversmith’s clan symbol or a registered silversmith’s signature or initials.

The Hopi Arts & Crafts-Silversmith Cooperative Guild is a nonprofit organization that helps
member Hopi artists promote their arts and crafts. The Guild is an example of how the Hopi hope to establish a stable society that merges traditional community life with desirable aspects of modern American life. A major objective of the Guild is to perpetuate excellence and authenticity in all Hopi arts and crafts.

In the Guild’s studio and gallery, located next door to the Hopi Cultural Center on Second Mesa, Hopi jewelry, pottery, kachina carvings, textiles, and other fine arts and crafts are displayed and sold. All pieces are handmade from start to finish.