Spiney Oyster cross by master Navajo silversmith Herman Smith. The 2 3/8” x 3” cross has a ¾” bale. A twisted wire pattern edges the cross and silver rain drops are between each of the nine Spiney Oyster cabochons. Signed H S, the hallmark for Herman Smith, on the back.
Herman Smith began making jewelry at the age of 15 under his mother’s (Mary Yazzie) tutelage. He has seven brothers and sisters, and all but one are silversmiths. Herman’s traditional silverwork has a unique style and he is known for using heavy gauge silver and the finest materials.
About the artist
Herman Smith comes from a family of silversmiths. At the age of 13 he learned the art of making jewelry from his mother Mary C. Yazzie. He is the cousin of Terry and Calvin Martinez. Herman’s work is mostly traditional revival style and he is known for ingot style bracelets with deep stamp work in the tradition of the old master silversmiths of the Navajo Nation. He always uses heavy gauge sterling silver that is carefully oxidized to create an older traditional look.
Herman uses fine turquoise, coral and lapis in his traditional designs. Recently, he has been creating more contemporary designs, with channel inlay, as well. He uses very few stamps to make all different designs, and He is known for his detail stampwork, although he uses very few stamps to make detailed designs.
Over the years, he has experienced persistent back problems and undergone surgery and lived with some excruciating pain which periodically makes it impossible for him to smith silver.