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A large-scale copper “revival” cuff bracelet by

Acoma/Laguna Pueblo silversmith, Greg Lewis, 2018

Before there was Native silver jewelry made in the American Southwest there was native copper and brass jewelry. Navajo and Pueblo metalsmiths fashioned bracelets, rings, buckles and conchos from cast-off copper kettles, brass pots, scavenged old copper telegraph wire and occasionally naturally occuring copper nuggets. The primary use of copper and brass for Native American jewelry died out around 1900-1910 as silver became more readily available except in the more remote areas of the reservation such as the rugged Navajo Mountain/Monument Valley region where silver was still quite difficult to come by until a decade for so later. Starting around the late 1950’s and through the 1960’s and 1970’s, a number of talented Pueblo and Navajo silversmiths began a “revival” of sorts bringing back the occasional use of copper and brass for jewelry. Pueblo smiths like Alvin Concho Lewis at Acoma and Leo Coriz and Tony Aguilar at Santo Domingo and the young Navajo silversmith, Mckee Platero all worked at various times in copper and brass during those years.

Greg Lewis (left) and Dyaami Lewis (right), Laguna Pueblo, New Mexico

Photo source and © Martha H. Struever, Santa Fe

This wonderful large-sized, old-style copper and sandstone cuff bracelet by the renowned Acoma/Laguna Pueblo silversmith Greg Lewis is a perfect example. Greg is the grandson of the great Acoma Pueblo silversmith, Alvin Concho Lewis and he began apprenticing for him at age 15 learning to make things in the old fashioned, painstaking completely traditional way; working in heavy, cast-ingot silver or copper with a simple set of handmade tools. Greg’s work is refreshingly old-style, direct and always beautifully-crafted.

“I enjoy showing people my methods because they reflect the traditional ways my grandfather taught me. It is very important that these time-honored skills be kept in the family and passed on to future generations.”

-Greg Lewis

This bracelet is sized for the fairly large wrist. It measures a sizable 11/2” in width. The inner circumference end-to-end is

6 1/8” and the gap between the terminals is 1 3/8” for a total interior circumference of 7 1/2”. The copper shank is slightly less than 1/8” thick. The bracelet weighs a substantial 116 grams or 4 1/8 ounces. The bracelet features a large, beautiful, pentagon-shaped piece of Arizona “picture” sandstone which itself looks like a lovely southwestern desert landscape and which works beautifully with the reddish-orange-brown color of the copper. The stone is set in an old-style “foldover” type copper bezel. The bracelet’s shank is decorated with two beautiful large matched repousseed panels one on either side, which are further accented with interesting chisel and stamp work designs. The terminal ends of the bracelet are further adorned with two matched pairs of circular “bump-outs” and a chiseled and stamped border runs along the entire length of the bracelet’s shank on both top and bottom. The bracelet is in excellent original condition and it is properly signed with Greg Lewis’ customary arrowhead insignia which he inherited from his Grandfather and the “D” mark of his talented son and apprentice, Dyaami Lewis.

This is a “back to the future” sort of piece if you will, which while being basically brand-new could for all intents and purposes have been made well over a hundred years ago. It’s a new/old classic, timeless in its beauty and appeal.

Price $875

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