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A very old-style contemporary Pueblo copper bead 

and silver Naja necklace by Greg and Dyaami Lewis

Third-generation Acoma/Laguna Pueblo silversmith Greg lewis (B.1954) is a very old-style fellow, he makes things like

he was still living back in the 19th century and in a sense he still is. He lives and works way out off the beaten path in the tiny Laguna Pueblo village of Paguate about 50 miles as the crow flies west of Albuquerque, New Mexico, under the shadow of the ancient volcano, Mount Taylor. He works in his small stone house with handmade tools he mostly made himself and he makes his jewelry in the classic traditional manner in which he was taught by his late Grandfather,

the renowned Acoma Pueblo silversmith, Alvin Concho Lewis. In recent years, Greg has often worked in conjunction

with his son and apprentice, Dyaami Lewis as he did on this necklace.

The necklace consists of 32 handmade two-piece copper beads and a large cast silver Naja pendant. The beads vary somewhat in size from 3/8” to 1/2” in diameter and the cast-silver Naja measures 2 1/4” in height and is 2 3/8” in width.

The ends of the Naja are done in the form of stylized human hands with nicely filed-in “fingers” and the subtle filing continues around the body of the Naja. In another interesting touch, Greg also inserted a very small white seashell

into the necklace between the copper beads.

Greg Lewis, at left, and his son Dyaami Lewis, at right, c. 2008. Greg is still wearing the same bracelet as he was thirty-two years earlier in the photo at left.

“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

Greg Lewis making jewelry, Paguate Village, Laguna Pueblo, NM, c. 1976

Photo by Lee Marmon. Photo source and © Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico

The necklace is made in a choker-style length and measures 10” in length from the top of the copper clasp to the bottom of the Naja measured while lying flat on a table. It measures 16” in circumference from end-to-end when completely opened up and it weighs a very comfortable to wear 63 grams or 2 1/4 ounces. The necklace is in excellent original condition and it is properly signed on the Naja with Greg Lewis’ customary arrowhead insignia which he inherited from his Grandfather and also with the “D” initial of his son and apprentice, Dyaami Lewis.

The piece is definitely and deliberately a bit rustic in appearance, a bit crudely-made and rough-hewn in the sense of it

being and looking entirely handmade and also somewhat charmingly irregular and uneven. The beads are not all perfectly round, all the edges are not filed completely and the surfaces aren’t all smoothly finished. There is no semblance of slick modern machine made or standardized materials or technique in evidence here. The necklace is currently strung on a fairly stiff plain steel wire and, if desired, could easily be re-strung on a softer plastic-coated wire or fiber cord. It could also be made a few inches longer with the addition of a Pueblo style cotton wrap. These are decisions which we will leave

to its next fortunate owner.

Sadly, this necklace is one of the last pieces that Greg Lewis will likely ever make. Due to declining health,

as of this writing he can no longer make jewelry. This unique necklace is an unusual combination; of a deeply historic

circa 1880 type piece aesthetically and technically which was made only a year or so ago. It is not a revival of an old form, it is essentially the original and traditional old form itself uniquely handmade in today’s hectic modern world.

Price $575

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