Native American Artists: Jewelers « back to artist list
Watson Honanie, Hopi Jeweler
Watson Honanie creates jewelry of gold and silver overlay portraying Hopi culture and ceremonial life. Encouraged by two uncles, Porter Timeche and the late Fred Kabotie, both of whom were associated with the Hopi Silvercraft Guild, he began making jewelry at an early age. "They gave me scraps of silver so I could make small pieces, mostly earrings," Honanie says.
He learned the overlay technique from his brother Phillip, and worked at the Silvercraft Guild for about 2 years before venturing out on his own. "In 1979, when the cost of silver got so high — $48 to $50 an ounce — I went back to using scraps, but not for making jewelry. I made small kachinas, about 4 inches tall, using the lost wax process and the melted silver scraps. I made these miniature kachinas for about a year, and then returned to jewelry."
Although he has been making jewelry since 1972, it was not until 1985 that he started to work with gold. But today, he is noted for his gold work.
Shown here are a gold and silver overlay concha belt and gold overlay necklace set with coral. The black backgrounds are oxidized silver and gold textured with stamped patterns. The lightly textured finish on the gold pottery conchas and the necklace is done with an engraving technique. The designs are adaptations from Pueblo pottery and Hopi kachinas. The belt was awarded First Place and Best of Division at the 1992 Santa Fe Indian Market. Courtesy of the artist.