Branch Coral Cuff
Branch Coral Cuff handmade by Geneva Ramone. This remarkable cuff features brilliant red Mediterranean coral set in sterling silver. The inside circumference measures 5 1/4″ inches from end to end with a 1 ” inch wide opening.
History of Coral
Red coral (Corallium Rubrum) comes from certain areas, such as the Mediterranean, where the specific water temperature and conditions allow coral to thrive. Coral is a hardened tube or branch. Only about 10% of coral is considered jewelry quality. Although coral has been used by Stone Age peoples as long as 30,000 years ago to decorate sepulchers (burial vaults), Native American artists have only used coral for the last 600 years.
When Europeans arrived in the New World, they brought with them “blood coral” from the waters of Spain and Italy.
Santo Domingo peoples first used coral in necklaces, as wampum (trade beads). The Hopi and Zuni strung coral beads alternating with other beads such as jet, turquoise and spiny oyster for dances and ceremonies.
Trade Roots Native American Artists
The Trade Roots Collection is the creation and vision of Jeffrey Lewis, founder and owner since 1970. Lewis has a personal commitment towards preserving and revitalizing Native American trade and tradition in the Southwest. Trade Roots has grown and flourished from that same commitment. In the early years, Lewis spent much time in the Lacandon Rain Forest, collecting molted Macaw parrot feathers for use in Zuni and Hopi ceremonial costumes. Later, he began traveling the world, securing supplies of exotic shell and stone. Trade Roots was able to consistently bring pearl shell from the South Pacific, coral from the Mediterranean, amber from Chiapas, Mexico and the Baltic Sea, rhodochroscite, lapis lazuli, sugilite, turquoise, variscite, fossil ivory, labradorite, azurite and many other exotic materials all to be used by Native Americans for jewelry-making and fetish carving. Today, Lewis has these same rare and exotic materials handmade into beads. Each creation is unique and has a timeless feeling that always brings joy to the wearer.
Geneva Ramone, a Navajo silversmith, was born in Crownpoint, New Mexico in 1958. She grew up on the Navajo Reservation. She began learning the art of silversmithing from her uncle, Tom Dick Ramone, at the age of fifteen. Tom Dick Ramone’s method of silversmithing was very sacred to him. He and his fellow silversmiths worked in a secluded secret place on the reservation. It was off limits to all of the children. Geneva was interested in the art and asked her uncle to teach it to her. He began showing her how he made conchas, bracelets, rings, etc. by melting scrap silver, pounding it flat and then stamping it with his self-made stamps. As Geneva learned the art she began using fabricated silver sheets and wires but continued using some of her uncles’ stamps and learned how to make her own. She has worked as a silversmith full time since 1978. She is very versatile in her silversmithing abilities; but, her specialty is still stamp work. She is able to make beautiful stamped designs with the many stamps that she has collected and made over the years