Hopi art and bracelets are easily distinguished by their nature. As with many other tribes, most Native tribes along the Southwest learned the art of blacksmithing from the Spanish. However, the prominent feature of Hopi bracelets is the heavy use of silver only, with a stone featured on the piece. While many other tribes have developed their own way of creating stunning works of art in their bracelets, the Hopi have forged their own unique style that can be easily spotted. By looking out for a few key features, anyone can learn how to spot authentic Hopi jewelry and bracelets.
Features of Hopi Bracelets
The Style- In the 1940’s the Hopi invented their own unique form of blacksmithing, known as overlay. The process involves stacking solid silver on top of plated silver in order to create stunning symbols, scenes, patterns, and more. This technique was mastered by the Hopi and is featured in most of their works. If a piece is silver overlay, it’s more than likely Hopi.
The Material- as stated above the easiest thing to spot in a Hopi piece is the use of plain silver. Many other tribes will set stones like turquoise into their silver pieces but the Hopi mainly stick to pure silver and their overlay technique.
The Hallmark- Since the Hopi have mastered their style, instead of placing a simple initial or name on their pieces, they will have a somewhat intricate symbol as their hallmark on the back of the piece to proudly showcase a little more of their skill.
While one of these factors alone isn’t enough to determine if the piece is Hopi, a few of them together in the same piece is a pretty clear indication. The Hopi are proud masters of silver and use that to their advantage when making any piece of jewelry, especially in Hopi bracelets.