Sterling silver pictorial buckle by Santo Domingo silversmith Joseph Coriz. The 1 1/2” x 2 7/8” buckle has three people, a bear, a goat, two fish, two steers and a harvest basket in silver overlay. The gold moon is 14k gold.
Joseph Coriz, Santo Domingo silversmith was born in 1956 and has been an active silversmith since 1985. He is known for his fine overlay and applique work with traditional Pueblo symbols. His storyteller silver sets him apart from other silversmiths. Joseph’s jewelry often display a Pueblo village, corn plants, cloud symbols, hand prints and other traditional symbols.
Awards: Santa Fe Indian Market, Eight Northern Pueblo Art Show, Pueblo Grande, Indian Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico State Fair, Heard Museum Show.
About the artist
Joseph Coriz, Santo Domingo Pueblo silversmith (and school-teacher), was born in 1958 and has been an active silversmith since 1985. Joseph often uses a turtle motif in his work; he is a member of the Turtle Clan. He is known for his fine overlay and applique work with traditional Pueblo symbols. His storyteller silver sets him apart from other silversmiths as well as the fact that he is one of the few Native American Indian artists who works with a precious metal other than silver, some of his pieces feature 14K gold overlay. Joseph’s jewelry often displays a Pueblo village, cloud symbols, hand prints, petroglyphs, the earth-creating turtle, and corn or maize, symbol of growth and prosperity, and other traditional symbols.
He makes his own silver beads and chains that are often attached to his larger pendants. There are often features that make pieces versatile as well as comfortable. Joseph’s necklaces have a curved fastening bar in the back and as a bonus, display a magnificent piece of natural turquoise.
He was inspired to follow in the footsteps of his parents, who were very successful at making beautiful handmade jewelry, and Videl Aragon*, who was known for his fine silversmith petroglyph designs. They taught him all the fundamentals of working with beads and raw silver at a very young age. Joseph absorbed each piece of information about the traditional hand crafted jewelry and eventually developed his own style. His first tools came from his mother, Clara Pajarito. Joseph’s early pieces were made from brass and copper. After a year or so of working in a more traditional style, Joseph decided that it was time to do something different. A walk around Santo Domingo Pueblo gave him the idea to do village scenes. He combines traditional methods with his own unique contemporary flare creating primarily sterling silver designs. He creates beautiful masterpieces of fine jewelry and has become one of the finest master silversmiths of our time. Joseph also implements a beautiful oxidation to the silver to make the portrayals jump out. His creations include rings, necklaces, bolos, pendants, bracelets, earrings, buckles, and concho belts.
Joseph lives in Santo Domingo Pueblo, New Mexico, with Corine Lovato and their two children, Martin and Melinda. (Joseph’s daughter Melinda, has shown interest and talent in making jewelry. However, Joseph and Corine are encouraging her to get her college degree first. Joseph mentioned that he told her she could focus on making jewelry as a hobby, once she started her career after college.)
Although as a Pueblo, Santo Domingo is most famous for its heishi jewelry, some of the most famous contemporary Santo Domingo artists are silversmiths, Joseph Coriz is one of those remarkable silversmiths. He is a self-taught silversmith and has been making jewelry for more than 25 years. His special pueblo storyteller designs were developed about 20 years ago as a way to set his unique silverwork apart from pieces other jewelers were making. It wasn’t long before Joseph’s tremendous talent was recognized by gallery owners and collectors.