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A very beautiful vintage White Hogan Shop Modernist-style silver and ironwood ring, c.1960’s

Let’s talk about “Style” with a capital “S”, this ring has really got it going on. And little wonder, as it is a stylish product of the brilliant Navajo silversmiths at Scottsdale Arizona’s famed White Hogan Shop. From the 1950’s through the 1980’s The White Hogan Shop set the quality and beauty standards for Navajo silverwork. Led by the brilliant Navajo silversmith, Kenneth Begay (1910-1977) The White Hogan Shop was a veritable all-star team of talented artists some known by name others known only by their outstanding work.

This ring is the perfect expression of the White Hogan Shop's streamlined Modernist design philosophy of using traditional methods and craftsmanship combined with an elegant streamlined distinctly modern look and the unique use of materials such as beautiful deep brown Desert Ironwood. Ironwood, as its name suggests, is an extremely hard and durable wood which grows in Arizona’s Sonoran desert. It has a lovely tight grain and is a perfect material for use in Southwestern jewelry. Kenneth Begay and the White Hogan Shop pioneered this beautiful desert material’s use and following their example it was also later adopted and used quite often by the great Hopi jewelry artist Charles Loloma (1921-1991).

The large oval-shaped Desert Ironwood panel in this ring is set into the ring face and is interspersed diagonally across the middle by a narrow inlaid band of polished silver. The ironwood is hand-carved to have a slightly undulating surface. The ironwood and silver are enclosed in a beautifully serrated silver bezel, so finely crafted that it is a work of art in its own right. The overall effect of this contrast in color, surface and texture between the bright gleaming polished silver and the dark wood is extremely elegant and very visually refined. The bezel platform is nicely set atop a finely made triple split-silver ring shank. All things taken together, it's a beautiful sculptural form.

The ring measures a size 7 to 7.25 on a professional graduated ring sizer. The ring’s face measures just slightly over 1 1/2” in length and is 3/4” in width at the widest point. It weighs a satisfying and easily wearable 11 grams or

3/8 ounce. It is in extremely excellent original condition particularly for its 60 or so years of age and it is properly hallmarked on the back with the White Hogan Shop’s domed Navajo hogan insignia. This is a wonderful White Hogan Shop piece all the way, a perfectly conceived and executed reflection of their exalted quality and aesthetic standards.

Elegance, sophistication, beauty, history, craftsmanship, quality are all in abundance here. We could go on of course, but we believe the point has been well made.


The ring shown with a White Hogan Shop silver and ironwood cuff bracelet. To view our website listing of this bracelet, please click here.

The Desert Ironwood Tree (Olneya tesota)

Photo source and © Arizona Sonora Desert Museum