The other day Michael showed me two sterling silver bracelets by Darryl Dean Begay he posted on Instagram.
In this day and age of image oversaturation, my first reaction was “Oh another traditional Navajo bracelet and a cool Spanish style stamped bracelet only this time by Darryl”.
My real focus was on a much more urgent “Contemporary Matter” so I called Darryl and we agreed to meet after the Heard Jewelers Market.
Darryl showed up and we collaborated on a very cool project together and I said: “say did you sell those silver bracelets”? Darry said no, I still have them.
Well, I must say, after thirty-six years selling the best American Indian Jewelry on the planet the picture of these two bracelets did not do them justice. The finish and feel were “Amazing.”
Darryl explained, the traditional bracelet is ingot coin silver, hand hammered the “Traditional Way” and he made his own stamps filing the details in the steel to perfection. Each strike of the stamp is so perfect, once you pick the bracelet up you not only feel the balance of the coin silver but the details are overwhelming to your senses. I just couldn’t believe he hadn’t sold them.
It’s pieces like these, that, like what I did, people tend to overlook the simple pieces, yet don’t realize the complexity of what really goes into making such a special piece or time involved in the process.
I won’t talk about the Spanish style bracelet because it is so cool, I kept it and it fit me perfect!
I commend Darryl highly because he has followed tradition, his god given “Heritage” of One Hundred Fifty years, and he deserves a real look at his traditional style designs.
If you have traditional style bracelet in mind Darryl can make you whatever you want and he is making them with great stones too!
Perry Shorty, Ernie Lister, McKee Platero “Look out because there is a new kid on the block”!
All the best,
“Traditional Navajo Silversmithing has a beautiful history. I was told (2004) by my Grandfather, Fred Deschiinii, that Old Man silversmith was in our bloodline.
That sparked my interest in early Navajo Jewelry. I also visited an early Navajo Silversmith’s studio, which was in ruin. I saw the fire pit in the corner and a stump
sticking out in the middle, all aged from the weather. Such a beautiful site. I learned my technique from Vernon Tracey. He showed me how to make stamps as
well. In fact, I went as far as to learn bellow casting. I have done a couple of pieces using this early technique of bellow casting. I have deep respect for my
Navajo ancestors who laid the foundation of silversmithing.
“Axheéhee Nistago” – DDB
This is the prosses of annealing. Annealing is heating the metal to change the hardness which makes the metal malleable to bend.