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A wonderful Hopi tufa-cast silver cuff
bracelet by Verma “Sonwai” Nequatewa, 2018
VERMA NEQUATEWA (Hopi, b.1949), niece and former apprentice of the renowned Hopi jewelry artist, Charles Loloma (1921-1991), makes some of the most beautiful and unique jewelry imaginable, like this absolutely gorgeous silver bracelet. This is essentially a small silver sculpture unadorned by stones or any other applied embellishments. The bracelet has been beautifully tufa-cast in a single piece and then given a wonderful textural contrast between the rougher unpolished lower surface of the silver casting and the highly-polished raised center panel and outside edges.
The cast silver surface is fascinating to contemplate and the way in which the undulating variegated surface with its multitude of small ridges and pits catches and reflects the light is, interestingly, somewhat reminiscent of the constantly shifting sands of the Desert Southwest and the various slight imperfections in the silver surface from the casting process can almost appear to be the tracks of small desert animals or pieces of rock. Verma’s creative inspiration in making a piece such as this is clearly the unique tufa-cast and lost-wax cast work of her Uncle and mentor, Charles Loloma, who explored tufa casting extensively and uniquely throughout his career.
“Charles taught that beauty is all around us on Hopi;
in the environment, in the culture, in ceremony.”
The bracelet measures 1 1/2” in width all the way around. The inner circumference end-to-end is 5 1/2” and the gap between the terminals is 1” for a total interior circumference of 6 1/2”. The bracelet weighs a very satisfying 108 grams or 3 3/4” ounces and it is in pristine, new condition. It is properly signed “Sonwai” and is also stamped with Verma Nequatewa’s hummingbird insignia on the interior. Verma “Sonwai” Nequatewa’s life’s work is being honored beginning in October, 2018 with a major retrospective exhibition at The Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. We are pleased to say that we are lenders to this exhibition and we are looking forward to attending.
It is amazing that after nearly fifty years of continuously making jewelry at the highest level, Verma Nequatewa’s current work, such as this exceptional bracelet, is every bit as fresh and beautiful, precious and original as it ever was, which is a real testament to the classic, contemporary, elegant and enduring nature of her creations.
Verma Nequatewa at the Heard Museum’s “Sonwai” exhibition opening, October 5th, 2018
Fifty years of Loloma family jewelry; Verma “Sonwai”
Nequatewa at top, Charles Loloma at bottom