COIN INGOT BRACELETS
Hopi Silversmith, Gerald Lomaventema works in the typical overlay technique associated with
Hopi jewelry making, but has often ventured into other creative and sometimes experimental methods of silver working. One of the areas of interest he is exploring is historical..the very early methods and
styles of Hopi silversmithing.
The first source of silver for the Hopis was coinage. Silver coins were melted and cast into ingots. The ingots were then worked with typical metal working tools of
the time, not dissimilar to blacksmithing tools, but smaller in scale. The ingots were hand forged or beaten into shapes and sheets which were used in jewelry making. The earliest pieces were simply one
piece of silver, formed and decorated with designs made by stamping the item with hand crafted decorative stamps. Unlike today, each piece was polished by hand using locally available materials. No
buffing machines. The resultant item had less of an intense shine than today, but rather had a deeper luster which provided a warmer look and feel to the piece.