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Two superbly-crafted Navajo cast-ingot
“Coin-Silver” rings by Quaid Shorty, 2023
These exceptional rings by young Quaid Shorty are old-style Classic-Period Navajo silver all the way. Quaid Shorty (b.1999) is a rapidly rising up and coming superstar of contemporary Navajo silversmithing, the highly-talented son of renowned Navajo silversmith, Perry Shorty (b.1965). These beautifully designed and finely-made rings are a completely and painstakingly hand-crafted modern-day "Revival" of an 1880’s-1890’s Classic-Period Navajo silver band-style ring right down to using the exact century-old traditional Navajo silversmithing materials and methods.
The use of “Coin-silver” is a distinctly old-style Navajo silversmithing tradition which was basically revived by
Quaid’s Father, Perry Shorty, in the 1990’s. The earliest Navajo silver jewelry was made from old American and/or Mexican silver coins which were melted down and cast into into ingot-silver “slugs" from which the jewelry was then formed or in very rare cases, a jewelry piece was made directly from a hammered-out coin or coins. Quaid, like his
Father Perry, uses historic turn-of-the-century American “Barber” type coins; half dollars, quarters and dimes to
make his unique “Coin-Silver” pieces.
He melts the coins down and in the time-honored manner casts the molten silver into an ingot silver “slug”. When he
is ready to start shaping the ring, he heats the silver slug to red hot and begins the painstaking process of hammering, reheating, hammering again until he gets the desired size and shape of the ring’s shank. When the ring’s shank is the right size and shape, the meticulous and detailed work of applying the decorative elements.
“It sure feel good when you wear hand-made jewelry.”
-Ambrose Roanhorse, "Leading Silversmith of The Navajo Nation" and Founder of The Navajo Arts and Crafts Guild, 1936
Quotation from Billie Hougart, “The Little Book of Marks on Southwestern Silver”, TBR International, 2011
The center of the first ring (Ring #1) was left in slightly domed-up plain polished silver and the top and bottom borders were decorated with beautiful stampworked designs all the way around. The contrast between the variegated stamped darker-colored borders and the brighter, smoother, polished silver center is very visually distinctive and satisfying.
The rings are in new unworn original condition and they were acquired by us recently directly from Quaid Shorty. Although essentially brand spanking right off the bench new, they already have a distinctively older-looking finish
and patina from their rustic, not too slick hand-wrought techniques and the use of coin silver. Just recently made in 2023, for all intents and purposes they look precisely as if they might have been made a Century ago in 1923. These rings have all that great old authentic look and feel precisely because they were made from the exact same materials using the exact same techniques as the 1923 model. You could say it’s a bit like time travel.
The rings both measure 5/16” in continuous width all the way around. Ring #1 measures a size 11-11 1/4 on a professional graduated ring sizer, ring #2 measures a size 11 exactly. Both rings weigh a very comfortable and easily wearable 16 grams or 5/8 ounce each. The silver shanks of both the rings are just shy of 1/8" in thickness. Ring #1 is properly signed "Quaid" in Quaid Shorty’s customary cursive signature and it is also marked “Coin-Silver” on the interior. It is also inscribed with Quaid’s initials “QS” and the unknown numeric code NI00. Ring #2 is also signed “Quaid”
and is also marked “Coin-Silver” on the interior.
These decidedly old-style rings are beautiful, distinctive-looking and easy to wear pieces from the inspired mind
and skilled hands of one of the finest young Native American artists working today. Either or both of these lovely classically hand-crafted rings would be a most worthy addition to any collection, anywhere and a true joy to
wear as often as you like!
Price $695 each
The second ring (Ring #2) has a row of beautiful precisely-executed repeating geometric stamp worked designs running all the way around the center of the shank. Both rings also have beautiful panels of repeating crescent-shaped stamp work designs all the way around their top and bottom edges. The end result of all the painstaking effort that went into crafting these pieces is harmonious, rich and immensely satisfying to contemplate.