Tribal Affiliation: Navajo
“I look to the old silversmiths and to my culture. There would not be a Calvin Martinez silversmith without the Navajo tradition to guide me. I am grateful that people still like the old silver pieces. I thank God for awarding me with these gifted hands.”
Calvin Martinez creates his jewelry in the pure style of the first Navajo silversmiths. He is well known for his old style jewelry. His jewelry making begins from ingot silver. He rolls silver and makes even the small parts that most people buys at supply stores. He uses fewer tools like the old days, therefore, his jewelry is heavy and has that old style look. . Everything is made by hand, including hand cutting his bezels. He is known for using only the highest quality natural stones and heavy gauge silver in his work. The style of work that Calvin does is commonly referred to as Traditional Revival.
His clear, substantial pieces speak eloquently of the very nature of the Navajo: unassuming people with strong convictions about their place within the balance of nature. Calvin brings this attitude of quiet strength to each of his creations. With only heavy-gauge silver, skillful hands and an eye for balance, he infuses each piece ith the power of simplicity.
Adapted from an interview with the artist and Greg Schaaf’s American Indian Jewelry III: M-Z.