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A unique and historically significant tufa-cast silver

and turquoise cuff bracelet made by Eveli Sabatie as

a special personal gift for Charles Loloma, 1971



This is a magnificent, daring, almost unbelievable bracelet by Charles Loloma’s now-famous former jewelry apprentice and colleague, evelyn (Eveli) Sabatie (French-Moroccan, b.1940); an absolutely elegant and stunning sculptural “statement” piece with a remarkable degree of aesthetic beauty and amazing technical sophistication and refinement. The fact that this is such a special and particularly inspired piece is completely borne out by the fascinating history that Eveli gave us about this bracelet in a recent personal meeting. She said that she was inspired to make this bracelet as a special personal gift for her esteemed teacher and artistic mentor, Charles Loloma, 46 years ago in 1971, to commemorate the very significant occasion of the opening of Loloma’s first-ever solo Museum exhibition at Phoenix’s Heard Museum in December of that year. This is the reason why Eveli dated the bracelet “1971”’ on the interior, the only Eveli Sabatie jewelry piece that we have ever seen with a year date on it. Eveli gave the bracelet to Loloma to wear to Phoenix for the opening of the Museum’s exhibition in December,1971, and, according to her stated account, he wore it at the Museum during that occasion.

Essentially, this bracelet is one great artist’s personal artistic tribute and expression of affection and gratitude to another great artist, one to whom she looked for guidance and inspiration. And it’s little wonder that Eveli was inspired to rise to such an important artistic occasion in such an inspired artistic manner. At this juncture in Sabatie’s career, she was already in her third or fourth year of apprenticeship to the renowned Hopi jewelry master and this extraordinary bracelet shows just how far she had already progressed in her own artistic abilities.


On close examination, one can easily observe that this bracelet has a somewhat different appearance than Loloma’s own tufa-cast silver bracelets usually have; the cast metal is thinner and the texturing is somewhat finer and more delicate and the top and bottom borders and edges are finished differently, in our opinion. Loloma’s influence on Eveli here, is not necessarily specific, in our view, but lay in his overall aesthetic inspiration and guidance and the quality of his technical advice and instruction on this demanding technique of which he was a true and accomplished master. However, it can be easily seen from this piece that Eveli was already well on the way towards establishing her own distinctive artistic identity within the then-emerging Loloma jewelry tradition.


“She is innovating even more on her own—her style has some influence because she was trained here….Her style is really…her own and is now starting to have a strong flavor of North Africa…parts of her innovation I also incorporated back.”


—Charles Loloma discussing the work of Eveli Sabatie in a later interview with Erin Younger, May, 1978, Heard Museum Phoenix.

Quoted in Martha Struever, “Loloma, Beauty Is His Name”, © Wheelwright Museum, Santa Fe, 2005,  pp.19

Tufa-casting is a remarkably difficult and nerve-wracking process, especially with such a large and wide bracelet cast so thin. There are numerous opportunities to make a disastrous misstep along the way, but Eveli cast this piece just perfectly; it is strong, thin and even with a lovely texture and a subtly raised border all the way around. There is an unexpected and especially beautiful row of four round, bright blue, hand-drilled turquoise beads set into individual silver bezels on one of the bracelet’s terminals. Eveli accomplished this ingeniously by soldering an additional silver panel onto the tufa-cast body of the bracelet on which the four silver bezels that hold the turquoise stones had been mounted.


The bracelet measures a very sizable 2 5/8” in width at its widest center point and it tapers down to 1 1/2” and

1 3/4” respectively at its asymmetrical terminals. The bracelet’s inner circumference is 5 3/4” with a 1 1/8” gap between the terminals for a total interior circumference of 6 7/8”. The bracelet weighs a very substantial 134 grams or 4 3/4 ounces. It is in excellent original condition and it is properly signed “Eveli” on the interior in her customary engraved signature, and, as we previously mentioned, it is also dated “1971” in honor of the exhibition.

Charles Loloma at the opening of his first solo museum exhibition at The Heard Museum, December, 1971.

Loloma is wearing this silver and turquoise cuff bracelet specially made  for this occasion by Eveli Sabatie.



Photograph from “Contemporary Southwestern Jewelry” © by Diana Pardue, 2007, pp.26.

Photo ©  by Heard Museum/Gibbs Smith Publishing

This bracelet is a unique and outstanding piece by one of the most original and talented Southwestern jewelry artists of the 20th Century and its documented history as having been made as a special, personal gift for her own artistic mentor, the great Charles Loloma, to mark an extremely important milestone in Loloma’s own artistic career only adds to its exceptional significance and deep personal meaning.



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Provenance:

The Artist, given to Charles Loloma as a personal gift, 1971

Eveli Sabatie making jewelry at her bench, c. 1970‘s.

Photo ©  Richard Smith