Lush florals, sumptuously curving leaves, chunky nuggets of turquoise and drops of coral – that all adds up to the work of a Navajo artist, right? Not necessarily. If you are researching the silversmith that made a particular piece, there is no guarantee that the “typical” style presented was made by a member of that tribe. Take the incredibly detailed leaf work of master Hopi Silversmith Joe Quiyo (pronounced QUAY-oh).
Using a hallmark of the capital initial “Q”, Joe is known for intricate silver leaf work in his jewelry. All of the leaves and flowers are cut out and shaped by his own hand. You might think Joe, being Hopi, would make pieces in traditional overlay style. However, he prefers Navajo styling in his pieces. This creates a unique blend of Native American culture and beliefs combined in his one of a kind jewelry.
Joe once told me that he sometimes worries about putting TOO much design on his pieces, but he loves creating the style so much, he keeps adding more and more leaves, swirls, flowers and drops until there is no more room! Following a common Native American belief that every part of an item (or person) is equally important, Joe often stamps the inside surfaces of his pieces as well. Just because something isn’t seen, doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable and worthy of design!