Navajo silversmith George Francis is a master in the art of making Native American jewelry. This introduction is the first in a series of videos where George explains and teaches about his craft.
Please stay tuned in the weeks to come as George goes more into detail about this Beautiful art. He gives great insight to the craft as he defines some common silver smith and jewelry terminology as well as share is opinion on some subjects in this industry.
George Francis Navajo Silversmith
My name is George Francis. I grew up and was born New Mexico, just west of Shiprock. I grew up some of my years in Shiprock and I presently live in Waterflow.
The type of work I do is jewelry, but I tend to dabble in other things also. Mostly jewelry.
When did you start?
When I was about 13 or 14 years old, if I remember right. I was given a few instructions on how to do certain items and after that I had to teach myself. That’s how it goes.
Why did you start?
More of curiosity’s sake, to see if I could do it. Once I learned how I realized I could make some money. This was in the early 70’s when Turquoise jewelry was quite popular. That became an incentive. As a young man, I never thought about savings, I just goofed off and had fun with it.
It looks like you’re still doing pretty good for yourself.
Is there a particular style that you would consider your own, or do you dabble in many different styles?
I dabble in many different styles for the simple fact that most of my main state is doing jewelry apparel. I have to know how to do certain types of work. For example, inlay, appliqué work, fine jewelry, contemporary, southwest styles… It could be many different things. I branched out and did different work. But as far as sticking to one style, no.
If we do decide to market our items, we gear to a certain audience. If that audience is tourists, we gear it towards tourism. We know that they’re on vacation so we keep our costs down and we can still give them something very reliable and worthy to have. If it’s towards a gallery show, we would build other units that are much different than what we do.