Talkin’ Hallmarks: Meet Henry Yazzie

Henry Yazzie

Henry Yazzie is a master Native American silversmith who has worked at Old Town Trading Co. and Jewels of the West in Scottsdale for nearly 30 years.  Now that the stores have merged and added “Old Town Jewels” as an eCommerce store, you can acquire one-of-a-kind pieces created by Henry even if you’re not in Scottsdale.  Henry was born and raised in Leupp, Arizona on the Navajo Reservation.  He began his silversmithing career in the eighth grade working in Flagstaff, Arizona chipping the turquoise and coral pieces to be inlaid into the silver jewelry that was quite popular at the time. He quickly moved up to soldering, and over time picked up many techniques of jewelry fabrication.  He excels not only in leaf work and rich traditional designs, but is adept at duplication and repair.

Henry’s hallmark is distinctive.  The lower right corner of a capital “H” is connected to the upper left corner of a capital “Y”.  We often see other pieces attributed to Henry because of similar hallmarks but they are not his.  Remember to always look at the style of the jewelry as well as the exact hallmark configuration.

Beautiful Navajo bracelet featuring turquoise, shell and jet accented with leaf work

Henry Yazzie bracelet featuring turquoise, shell and jet accented with leaf work. Note the rich curved shaping on the leaves.

Henry Yazzie, Navajo Native American, HY hallmark stamp

This hallmark was stamped with a straight line stamp, but Henry has created his own custom stamps as well.










This is Henry’s hallmark and an example of his work.  Because he works in our shop and creates custom pieces, it’s not always easy to determine Henry’s “signature style”, but his fabrication techniques are flawless and each piece is weighty and well finished.





HY storyteller bracelet

This “HY” has a distinctive story teller style, often working in two different scenes stacked together.

The initials are the same, but the arrangement is quite different than Henry's stamp.

The initials are the same, but the arrangement is quite different than Henry’s stamp.








This is a hallmark by an artist whose initials also happen to be “HY”.  This artist stamps a capital “H” well away from a capital “Y”.  We believe this is a Navajo artist who may be Harold Yazzie or Harry Young, but we’re not certain.  The style, however, is consistent – “story” or “storyteller” jewelry featuring tiny images of everyday life on the Navajo reservation.



Note the difference in the base of the "Y"

Note the difference in the base of the “Y” – the lower leg is at a slant.

This "HY" artist uses a much flatter and straight lined leaf than Henry - one way to help determine that this pendant was not made by him.

This “HY” artist uses a flatter straight lined leaf – one way to help determine that it was not made by Henry.













Another “HY” that is often confused for Henry is a little harder to spot.  We believe this artist is named Henrietta Yesele, but we have no proof other than the silversmiths’ memories of someone they knew years ago.  Take a look at how the lower leg of the capital “Y” is at a slant – Henry’s is straight.  It’s these tiny differences that are important in a correct assessment of the artist.  This “HY” artist also creates leaf work, but her/his style is quite different than Henry’s.



Hopi artist Hubert Yowytewa uses the same mark as Henry, but his is accompanied by a Sunface Hopi Guild stamp

Hubert Yowytewa’s hallmark is accompanied by his father’s Sunface stamp

Hubert's jewelry shows classic Hopi geometric overlay with tiny chiseled lines in the background.

Hubert’s jewelry shows classic Hopi geometric overlay with tiny chiseled lines in the background.









One final “HY” hallmark is perhaps the hardest to differentiate.  Late Hopi artist Hubert Yowytewa used the same letter configuration as Henry, but his stamp was accompanied by his father Arthur Yowytewa’s sunface stamp.



Please leave a comment if you are familiar with any of the “HY” artists listed.  We’d love to update our database!!

You can always find beautiful Native American jewelry for sale on our website or on eBay, as well as in our retail store located in Old Town Scottsdale, AZ!

by oldtownjewels

2 thoughts on “Talkin’ Hallmarks: Meet Henry Yazzie

  1. Joseph says:

    You need another heading titled “Satisfied Customers”.
    I am in Hartford Arkansas where nothing is handy but that is why it’s a quiet place to live.
    I recently aquired a pair of Native American watch tips and needed a large band to fit it as I am a giant. Diane and I exchanged many emails until we were both satisfied that we had designed the perfect size band to fit my watch, tips, and wrist.
    It was just the right color of stainless steel to match the sterling silver watch tips and the exact fit I was looking for.
    Even the price was so reasonable that I cannot believe it is the year 2014.
    They did a perfect job at an affordable price.
    I could not ask for more.
    Thank you Diane and staff for a job well done.

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