Another masterwork, by the best jeweler you never heard of! Conforming to Navajo culture – it is unmannerly, even dangerous, to promote oneself – Alvin is appropriately unassuming.
Phenomenally gifted, he enters very few shows – his only entry into the prestigious Heard Museum Show in Phoenix won Best of Jewelry Division right off the bat!
His passion is sculpting in precious metals, so his jewelry pieces are usually miniature sculptures. Here, he has combined Native lore, and his own artistic gifts, into one magnificent pendant.
Every bit of this majestic pendant is fabricated by the not-so-slender fingers of the artist. The feathers, the ears of corn, the braids, hollow ruff, and more, are painstakingly cut, etched and finished entirely by hand.
The figure is Crow Mother, a chief kachina for the Hopi and Pueblo people. (Alvin is Navajo, so he feels safe in rendering other tribes’ spiritual figures.)
Crow Mother has various ceremonial duties, during the Powamu dances, in early Spring, helping to ensure a bountiful harvest. Corn is the metaphor for health, happiness and abundance.
Everything is hand-fabricated, there is nothing cast. This Crow Mother has been assembled, tiny bit of silver, by tiny bit, with exquisite detail and precision.
The head is an accurate representation of the kachina, minus the colors. On either side of the neck, are chiseled and stepped rain symbols.
These signs of precious rain are repeated at regular intervals, along both sides of the body, but best also seen between the two pairs of corn ears.
Graceful husks curl around each ear of corn; all around each ear, every single kernel is meticulously etched. So are each and every one of the double fan of feathers, at the head.
In glorious contrast to the minute details and textures in the silver, the body of the kachina is represented by a smooth, sleek, long oval of natural rosarita.
This stone is a unique material, which derives its red color from the process of gold refining. This particular piece of rosarita is exceptional in its soft, but rich, rosy hue of red.
Stepped rain symbols are shown with the warm hue of the rosarita, suggesting the ideal balance of rain and dry, sunny land, that will produce ample ears of corn.
That is the narrative behind this extraordinary pendant, but its striking beauty and remarkable execution speak more loudly than words.