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Native American Silversmith/Goldsmith Hallmarks

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Native American Jewelry Hallmarks

Hallmarks and how to find information about my Native American Indian jewelry

 

What is a hallmark?

A hallmark is a symbol, initials, or signature that is written, stamped or carved into the back of a work of art. This hallmark is put into the back of a work of art such as Native American Jewelry, Pottery, or other crafts to identify who crafted the work of art. Many of these works of art are also hallmarked with type of material (silver, gold, Turquoise, etc.) that the work of art was made with. When it comes to jewelry specifically, it is required by law that the silversmith or goldsmith stamp the piece with the percentage of metal in the piece. In Native American jewelry it is common to see .925 or Sterling meaning that the piece contains sterling silver which is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. In anglo jewelry and some Native American jewelry the artists may work with different kinds of gold such as 10k, 12k, 14k, 18k or 22k. This is the amount of gold that is in the metal. Some highend Silver and Gold Jewelers even put the city and or state they come from. The more information an artist hallmarks onto a piece the easier it is to find out who made the piece after it has passed through several hands. Many Indian Jewelers adopted this system in the mid 1950s when Indian Jewelry became more popular. In the beginning Native American jewelry hallmarks were just the initials of the artist or a symbol they loved such as an arrow or buffalo or the like. Today many artist use their full name, there initials with a symbol, or more detailed stamps or hallmarks. This is partial due to the popularity of knock off jewelry that is made in different parts of the world such as Asia. In Asia specifically there are sweat shop factories producing imitation Native American and Southwest Jewelry and those artist have adapted the common hallmarks of the older Native American artists that used their initials. Top

 

Why Artisans use hallmarks?

 

Artisans, including Native American artisans (especially Navajo Silversmiths) us hallmarks to help identify their work. The artisan also use hallmarks to help sell their jewelry to galleries and stores. Today many stores frown upon non - hallmarked items. Many artisans have faithful collectors and fans and the hallmarks are most appreciated by the artisans patrons. This is especially true with Native American artisans and Navajo silversmiths. So, all said and done it is a service to the buyer or collector of the artwork.


It is important to remember that a hallmarks do not always guarantee that a piece of works authenticity. As afor mentioned, there are many fakes out there. The artisans making these imitations are very skilled at imitating hallmarks and signatures. These dishonest individuals also use base metal and coat it in silver and then stamp it silver. These individuals do this with gold as well. This practice has been around since the beginning of artists and craftsman, so it is nothing new, however the imitators have gotten better at what they do.


Many times we suggest people be more concerned with the craftsmanship and materials that a piece is made with. After observing these traits in a craft or work of art, a buyer should then price check. If the price seems proper for the work of art, the buyer is happy with the craftsmanship and materials used in the piece, and feels good about the seller, than it is worth buying. This is all the general public needs to consider when purchasing art. The general public has no reason to be paying double, triple or higher price for a piece of art made by a specific artist. There are plenty of piece that are just as fine as the pieces made by prolific artisans such as Navajo Silversmiths, that are made by up and coming artists and artisans that are not concerned with becoming famous.

This really means that the only people who need to be aware of hallmarks are those who are looking to buy for investment and those who are collecting works of art by certain artists. For these individuals, they need to become experts on these artisans work. They need to know much more than the hallmark. These collectors need to know the specific styles, techniques that the artist use, and different things to look for in their works to determine if they are truly made by that artist or those artists.

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What resources can I consult to learn more about my jewelry and hallmark?


If you purchase or have purchased jewelry from us that was made by a Native American artist, we have a small list of the artists we use below. If you purchased a piece from the website Durangosilver.com you can consult Dillon Hartman via email at dillon@durangosilver.com

We are not experts in this field, but we will direct you to people and resources that are. 

DO NOT EMAIL US ABOUT HALLMARKS. No matter if your interest in hallmarks is just for fun and personal knowledge or for an expert appraisal, you should be able to find the information in the following sources:  

If your just looking for information for fun and not for insurance purposes try these: 

American Indian Jewelers #1, 1200 Artists Biographies, by Dr. Gregory & Angie Yan Schaaf. -  This is a neat resource. It does not include all artists. Very informative and has some great pictures.
The Beauty of Hopi Jewelry by Theda Bassman, et al. Available through Amazon.com.
Hallmarks of the Southwest (Schiffer Book for Collectors) by Barton Wright, available through Amazon.com This is the bible for most Native American art collectors. This book mainly focuses on Native American jewelry hallmarks. AGAIN THIS BOOK falls short in including all artists. Many of the most prolific artists are hispanic and anglo and are not included in this book.
North American Indian Jewelry and Adornment by Lois Sherr Dubin (Author) Available through Amazon.com.

Treasures of the Hopi by Theda Bassman, et al, available through Amazon.com.

Turquoise Unearthed: An Illustrated Guide by Joe Dan Lowry, Joe P. Lowry, available through Amazon.com.
 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 









 

Native American Jewelry silversmith hallmarks you will find on our southwestern jewelry

You will find the hallmarks stamped on the back of your Native American jewelry.  If you have purchased a piece of our Native American Indian made jewelry and do not find the hallmark in this list, please contact us for more information.  We have listed Many Tribes and artists Hallmarks. Please let us know if you are an artist and do not see your name, or you know of others we should include. Top

 

A quick note about Native American Hallmarks in the list below:

Many of the artists below are bench jewelers. A Native American bench jeweler is a jeweler that works for a larger company making the designs of that company. These companies sell simular jewelry to many galleries, stores and internet sites. This is important because you may see a simular list on another site, this does not mean that we copied the information, nor did they. It simply means they are buying from the same company and artists.

A Few Anglo Silversmith Hallmarks:

Aldrich Arts Benny & Valerie Aldrich - Durango
CF Charlie Favour - Pagosa Springs, CO
C. Hall Cloud Hall
Dennis Hogan Dennis Hogan
D. Hartman, or Dillon in Cursive Dillon Hartman - Durango, CO
Douglas Magnus Doug Magnus of Santa Fe
Heart with Hartman's of Durango around it John and Estell Hartman - Durango, CO
J. Hartman John Hartman - Durango, CO
John Huntress John Huntress - Santa Fe
M.V.R. Mona Van Riper - Santa Fe
Philip Chambless Philip Chambless - Zuni Mountains

 

A Few Native American Hallmarks:

Symbol Artist's Name
AB Alex Begay
AHASTEEN Julius Ahasteen
AJ Al Joe
AJ Alvin Joe
AL Althea Latome
Al Yazzie Al Yazzie
AV Alvin Vandever
AM Angeline Miller
AC Anita Castillo
AP Arthur Platero
A or what looks like 2 crowns side by side in a crescent shape Annie Chappo
AY Arthur Yazzie
BB Bernard Barton
BB Benjamin Becenti
BH Barbara Hemstreet
BJ Barbara Johnson
BB Ben Begaye or Bernice Begaye
BE Ben Etsitty
BR or Claw Symbol Bennie Ration
BBF Berna Francsico
BJ Bessie Jake
BL Joyce Francisco
BL Bill Francisco
BW Balinda Woody
PZ Bobby Piaso, Sr.
BR Brian Francisco
BF Burt/Kathy Francisco
Chee Mark Chee (Prolific Navajo Artist)
CF Consuelo L. Francisco
C.B. Corline Baca
C.B. Curtis Benavidez
DT Delores Toledo
E. BECENTI Eugene Becenti
EB Edison Begay
EB Emma Bighand
EB Edith Barney
E. Begay Elsie Begay
EG Elizabeth Guerro
E. Yazzie Evelyn Yazzie
FA Floyd Arviso
F.A. Fred Adakai
FB Fred Baca
FR Freddie Ramone
FC or F. Charley Freddy Charley
FC Fredrick Chavez
GB Garrison Boyd
GC Geneva Chavez
GG Gertie Ganadonegro
GGJ Gary Johnson
GW Genieve Werito
GY Geraldine Yazzie
HB Harold Becenti
HL Helen Francisco
HG Henry Ganadonegro
HM Henry Mariano
HP Herbert Pino
IP Irene Platero
LD Lawrence Delgarito
L Jeff Largo
LTB Loren Thomas Begay
MA Myra Albert
JD Jeremy Delgarito
JDE Jones Delgarito
J. Nelson John Nelson
JN Johnathan Nez
JJ Johnny Johnson
JG Johnson Gluerro
JP Juan Pino
KA Kirk Arviso
KF Kathy Francisco
E Kenneth Etsitty
KN Kirby Nez
L. Ganado Rose Ganadonergo
LP Lena Platero
LN Leonard Nez
LS Lorenzo Secatero
L.U.  LaRose Ganadonergo
MP Margaret Platero
MR w/Bear Symbol Merie Ramone
M. Cheatham with a broken arrow on top Michael Anthony Cheatham, Echota Cherokee
NC Nila Cook
Orville Tsinnie, Shiprock N.M. Orville Tsinnie
PP Peter Padilla
P Sanchez Phillip Sanchez
RA Rita Abeita
RG or RAMONA Ramona Guerro
RIG Reda Guerro
RF Rosalina Francisco
RD Rose Draper
RL Robert Livingston
RJ Rosita Jake
Ray T., RT, Ray Tracey Ray Tracey
JS Sampson Jake
S.B.  Shirley Baca
SB Sheila Becenti
SJ Selina Jake
SW Sampson Werito
TA Tom Anderson
T. Bahe Tom Bahe
TC (what looks like a crescent moon instead of a full C) Ted Castillo, Navajo
T.M.P. Theresa Apachito
T.J.V. Thomas Valencia
TG Timothy Guerro
TG Tony Garcia
TWO DOGS Two Dogs
VA Virgil Arragos
VB Vivian Barbonz
VB Vernon Begay
VBZ Virgil Bzgay
V.C. Victor Chavez
VE Victoria Eriacho
Verdy Jake, VJ or V. Jake Verdy Jake
VT Vera Tsosie
WA William Anderson
A mushroom stamp Royce Carter

 

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Original copy by Dillon Hartman of Durango Silver Company. The opinions and facts in this page are of Dillon Hartmans and are not legally binding. These are opinions and facts gathered through different resources and the personal experience of Dillon Hartman.

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