Connie Tsosie-Gaussoin, internationally renowned for contemporary jewelry, was raised on stories about jewelry related by her father, who worked on a wholesale jewelry assembly line.
Another key influence was her jeweler uncle, Tom Tsosie. “He would sit on sheepskins on the floor of a large, round hogan. We’d watch him every summer when my parents took us on the Navajo reservation…. So, I saw the very old process.”
Her emergence as a silversmith was not easy; when she began showing her jewelry at the Santa Fe Indian Market show – and winning awards – few Native women had ventured into metal-smithing, so she attracted negative attention from her male counterparts.
As time went on, more and more women entered the field, and now there is no more controversy, thanks to the pioneering persistence of Connie, and a few others.
Deeply immersed in the traditions of both Navajo and Pueblo culture, she, nevertheless, is noted for decidedly modern, even contemporary, pieces, like these dramatic earrings.
There is tradition in the stepped rain symbol that finishes the ends, and the leaf-like copper elements that form the pattern of decoration.
Tradition of another sort is in the technique and materials: copper and silver hammered together is an ancient Japanese technique called mokume gane, used primarily in samurai weapons.
This artist adapted it to her contemporary, Native vision. Also contemporary, is the cube of crystal clear lucite, that connects the dangles to the wire.
Real crystal, or glass, would be too heavy to wear comfortably, so she used a very “today” material to reinforce the theme of water and rainfall.
Water and rain are the best of blessings in the arid southwest, so these earrings are beautiful, dramatic, flattering, intriguing – and symbols of very good luck.
Enjoy the various aspects of these fascinating earrings – and the compliments you will attract.