Hopi jewelry, although a somewhat latecomer to the southwestern silver jewelry pantheon is widely and wildly collected by enthusiasts of clean designs executed in gold and silver. At Twin Rocks Trading Post, our love of fine Native American artwork spills into a top selection of contemporary Hopi silver jewelry. Visitors venturing to our store located in Bluff, Utah’s beautiful red rock river valley will find a large assortment of Hopi silver overlay bracelets, earrings, pins, buckles, and pendants. (Continued below.)
Hopi jewelry created from shell, wood, bone and stones, including turquoise, has been created at their ancient villages for many centuries. The village of Orayvi is considered the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America and beautiful renditions of ancient jewelry as well as ongoing traditions in painting, basket making and cloth weaving laid a rich foundation for a wholly new Hopi jewelry art form.
In the late 1930’s, curators from the Museum of Northern Arizona encouraged Hopi artists to create their own unique style to differentiate their work from the Navajo and Zuni jewelry being made at that time. Using designs from Hopi pottery, baskets, weaving and paintings, artists Paul Saufkie and Fred Kabotie created classic interpretations to be executed in Hopi silver.
Paul Saufkie (1898 - 1993) learned silversmithing in the 1920’s and after World War II, in a program sponsored by the G.I. Bill of Rights, taught returning Hopi veterans the art of Hopi overlay jewelry. One of their first and most successful students, Victor Coochwytewa, developed a new technique whereby the bottom silver layer is oxidized, allowing the cutout designs in the top layer to show more prominently, a technique still in use today. In 1949, Paul, along with Fred Kabotie, formed the Hopi Silvercraft Cooperative Guild, providing training, materials, financing, work space and marketing for a growing Hopi silver jewelry market.
Today, contemporary Hopi artists continually refine their techniques while finding new ways of expressing these beautiful designs for discriminating buyers in Native American art. Travel down U.S. Highway 191 and visit two of the best locations in the Southwest; Twin Rocks Trading Post and Bluff, Utah.
Artists who create Hopi Jewelry:
Eddison Wadsworth Soohafayah
Kee Yazzie, Jr.