Hopi Silversmith


Unknown Unknown inho506pa.jpg IN-HO-506 B&W 1502.0506.0001 inho506pa Print 3x5 Historic Photographs 1930s Reproduction requires permission. Digital images property of SHM Library & Archives


Hopi silversmith working in his jewelry store.

The story of Hopi silverwork actually begins with a Zuni trader and silversmith named Lanyade.

The Hopi and Zuni Pueblos had been trading partners for centuries. Around 1890, Lanyade began trading his hand-made silver jewelry with the Hopi, usually in exchange for hand-woven cotton textiles. He eventually taught the art of working with silver to a Hopi man named Sikyatala, who began producing silver jewelry around 1898. Sikyatala, in turn, taught silver work to several other Hopi men, who then shared their knowledge with others over the next several decades.

The first Hopi silver pieces—typically beads, rings, and bracelets—tended to be indistinguishable from those made by Zuni and Navajo artists at the time. It really wasn’t until the 1930s when a distinct Hopi style began to appear.

NOTE: Sharlot Hall Museum Research Center has more Hopi photographs; however these are restricted and can only be viewed by approval from the Hopi Cultural Center (email: info@hopiculturalcenter.com or telephone 928-734-2401).


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