“The Joyous Return from Hwéeldi” Cuff


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JJ Otero is quickly becoming a well-known name in the Native American Jewelry world.  Formerly an IT specialist and award-winning musician for years (he’s still playing!), JJ began his foray into the art world with woodworking, becoming well-known for his masterfully crafted cradleboards.  In late 2018, he started making jewelry and he hasn’t looked back.

This 0 gauge square wire cuff has been beautifully stamped, textured, and chased to tell its story – the joyous return from Hwéeldi.

On the top of the cuff is a thin zig-zag line created by the repetitive stamping of lines varying in length.  This zig-zag represents the sacred mountains that were seen as the Navajo people got closer and closer to their homeland, which were a source of joy for them.

On either side of the stamped mountains are chased, curving lines and dots, the lines representing rivers, the dots a depiction of the people surrounding those rivers.  Just below those on either side are rectangular, textured areas representing the fields of the people’s homeland.

The front of each of the legs of the cuff are adorned with dots connected to one another with straight lines.  These seemingly simple symbols are the Navajo people walking away from Hwéeldi, as they return home.

The words “The Joyous Return from Hwéeldi” are inscribed on the inside of the cuff, and upon reading these words, the symbolism comes into clear focus.  This cuff is representative of tremendous joy, of a feeling of homecoming, of returning to the lands of your ancestors, and while the stamping, texturing, and chasing may at first appear to be simple, the meaning behind them amplifies them into the spectacular.

This cuff is large and heavy, a statement piece with a story to tell.  Its solely silver design makes it incredibly versatile, extremely wearable, and always fashionable.

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