Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Earring Symmetry

Earrings Set in Sterling by an Unknown Navajo Inlay Specialist, circa 2012
A well known classical style Navajo silversmith once explained to me the challenge of symmetry in producing a pair of well crafted earrings. The biggest demanding chore is in finding or cutting stones enough alike to make a close match.   He summed up the frustration in saying, "earrings are more than twice the work of a pendant and they have no additional market value "   Our discussion pertained to an example of earrings with single cabochons mounted in silver. The difficulty of achieving an acceptable level of symmetry is obviously compounded with multiple stone inlay.

The earring pair pictured above illustrates remarkable construction symmetry of its component stones:  jasper, tiger eye, Acoma jet, and lab opal.    Each piece is individually cut from a much larger stone then shaped to fit by the inlay artist.  It is an exacting skill that requires great patience and a very high level of manual dexterity developed through years of practice. 

The unidentified Navajo inlay artist who designed, cut, and set the stone in silver to make this beautiful and unique set of matching earrings is worthy of high praise and appreciation.   The retail value of this particular pair is about $200.