Sterling silver tufa cast cuff by award winning Navajo silversmith Monty Claw. The 1-1 3/8"wide cuff has a unique setting raising the Damele turquoise 3/4" above the cuff itself.
The Damele and Damaile mines are located in east central Nevada, near the Carico Lake Mine. Damele turquoise is distinctive because of the Zinc content that turns the stone yellow-green and increases its hardness. Damele turquoise is limited because the mines are small. It has become a favorite of collectors because of the limited supply.
Award winning artist Monty Claw is a Navajo specializing in beadwork fans and tufa cast jewelry. He graduated from high school in 1995 with an achievement award in art and studied at the Institute of American Indian in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is predominantly self-taught. Monty lives in Gallup, New Mexico and is a member of the Native American Church. He has won major awards at the Santa Fe Indian Market and the Heard Museum as well as other major shows.
About the artist
Monty Claw is an award-winning Navajo artist who now specializes in tufa cast fine sterling silver jewelry. He lives in Gallup, New Mexico with his family and daughters. Monty is an artist of many talents including award-winning bead work fans and painting.
The road to artistic recognition was a long one that started when he was five years old. He graduated from high school in 1995 with an achievement award in art and like so many others, he studied at the Institute of American Indian Art, the premier school in the country for post-secondary arts education especially for Natives. He left school in 1998 and did construction work as a welder for the next seven years. He met his wife Karen 2001, and married in 2002. After he had his first child it motivated him to do art again and brought him out of the funk.
Monty’s father had always done bead art and at that time he revisited his interest in beadwork. Even though bead work is most associated with the Plains Indians, in the Native American Church ceremonies they adopted beadwork from the Plains tribes. You will find fans, rattles, staffs and cedar bags decorated with bead-work in NAC ceremonies. He has his beaded fans in 9 different museums.
By 2006 he was concentrating on his artwork and had submitted one of his beaded fans into the Southwest Indian Arts Fair in Tucson, winning an award.
His observation was that judges gravitated toward collaborative pieces and he tried doing that with some jeweler friends, to no avail. But, it gave Monty the impetus to pursue jewelry and winning the 2014 Native Peoples Magazine Creativity Award at Santa Fe Indian Market
Claw’s apparent overnight success was actually a 10-year endeavor. Since quitting his job in 2005 and dedicating himself exclusively to creative ventures, his rise has been anything but meteoric, nothing more than a slow but steady upward trajectory that has left many of his contemporaries mistakenly wondering how it happened so fast.
“When I was working as a welder, I had that yearning, and I wasn’t happy, welding took me away from my family, but doing my artwork saved my family.”
"When I work I pretty much go with my own flow. There are no boundaries to what I create. I like to create what feels challenging yet it's gotta feel right with my mood. I love to create pieces that just speak wonders! It’s kinda like my own little personal world. It's an addiction I love! It’s Me!!!"
“I always think that I would like to incorporate painting, beadwork and silver into one piece. I am not sure what that looks like, but I see it as something I will attempt.”
…The Nerman Museum, American Indian Art Collection
…The Nelson Atkins Museum
…The Denver Art Museum; Denver, CO
…The Norman Museum; Norman, OK