This unique women’s lapis cuff with center stone and side stones of lapis set in sterling silver with flower petal design is handmade by Alvin Monte.
Lapis is a deep blue semi-precious stone prized since antiquity for its intense color. Lapis lazuli was mined in the Badakhshan province in northeast Afghanistan as early as the 7th millennium BC.
Sterling silver has always been a popular choice for jewelry because of the metal’s sparkling beauty and versatility. Since the dawn of civilization, men and women have been captivated by silver’s spell and splendor. Throughout the ages this mystical white metal has been used to mark historical milestones, celebrations, achievements and special occasions.
No one knows with certainty when the first silver gift was bestowed. But as early as 3,100 B.C., ambassadors from Crete were already bringing silver vases as gifts for Egyptian rulers. The metal’s popularity has even influenced our languages and customs. A silver spoon has symbolized great fortune and privilege since the 17th century when the Spanish writer Cervantes cleverly acknowledged that not everyone was born with one in his mouth. The tradition of the “silver anniversary” dates back to Germany where it was customary to present a silver wreath to a woman after 25 years of marriage.
A special gift of sterling silver is a touching and lasting expression of affection, friendship, celebration, congratulation or thanks.
Native American Artist: Alvin Monte
Navajo jewelry artist Alvin Monte works in both gold and silver, often making his own stamping tools to create one-of-a-kind designs.
Born in Socorro, Monte grew up in Canoncito, New Mexico. Both his parents were well-known silversmiths but Monte didn’t pick up the trade until he moved away from home. He is a self-taught silversmith. His inspirations often come from petroglyphs or pueblo designs although the execution of his designs is more symbolic than realistic. The result is a more modern verses traditional design that he likes to embellish with various stones including amethysts and garnets for a lustrous effect.
Monte is now teaching his young son, who at age nine shows a talent for silver-smithing, thus elevating another generation of the Montes into the artist world.