James Little 14K Gold Charoite Ring


Each piece of jewelry James Little creates tells a different story. When he was in the gallery in Scottsdale, James explained to me the Navajo culture, how each material he placed on this ring, and the meaning behind them. James Little fashioned this ring after a Navajo Yei Mask with healing property design elements. He skilfully cut the charoite, lapis, and turquoise stones to form a leather Yei mask. The sides of this ring are hand-cut gold thunderclouds with a 14k gold feather accented with a coral stone. James included a Navajo prayer stick on the bottom of this mask ring, and it is the most innovative wearable art ring James Little has ever created. James Little won a first-place ribbon for this ring at the Gallup Intern-Tribe Indian Ceremonial in Gallup, New Mexico.





    1″ 7/16th H X 1″ 1/16th W X 1/2 D

    Ring Size: 7 1/2


    James Littles has an exceptionally heartfelt story among all the artists I have worked with. At a young age, he was sent to a boarding school, where they discovered that he was deaf. Unable to provide him with the necessary support, they sent him back home to Pinon, Arizona. Growing up, James became a sheep herder with his family. His brother noticed that James had a talent for carving wood while he was tending to the sheep. Because of his talent, his brother managed to get James enrolled at Navajo Community College so that he could explore all art possibilities. James crossed paths with Kenneth Begay, a famous jeweler and teacher who immediately took an interest in him and taught him the art of silversmithing. After graduating, James worked at a shop in Flagstaff, Arizona, where a doctor and his wife met James and noticed his inability to hear. Over the years, the doctor tried to persuade James to move to California for treatment to help restore his hearing. James eventually agreed, and after undergoing five operations, his hearing significantly improved. In the late 1970s, James found success making jewelry in California and attended several shows and won ribbons for his jewelry at the shows. A friend of James sent images of his work to Jerry Jacka and Arizona Highways Magazine, and asked them to recommend where James could showcase his work in Scottsdale. This led to a meeting with Lovena Ohl, who purchased all of James’ pieces and offered him assistance after Lovena discovered James couldn’t read or write. She offered to help by providing a speech therapist through her foundation from Arizona State University, who spent six years teaching James how to read and write. Today, James Little is celebrated as one of the finest American Indian silversmiths. What sets him apart is the intricate Navajo symbolism in his pieces and the high-quality materials he uses. Phoenix Home and Garden has even dubbed him “A Master Jeweler.” I continue to work with James to this day, 45 years after his encounter with Lovena. William Faust II

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