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Steve Arviso

Navajo silversmith Steve Arviso (b. 1963) creates jewelry inspired by old Navajo styles with an emphasis on the natural beauty of the stone. He does not believe in forcing his turquoise to become anything other than what it chooses to be. “When I get a piece of turquoise,” he explains, “I don’t instantly know what I’m going to make… out of 20, 30 stones, only one turquoise will speak to me.” Arviso considers himself more of a creator, blowing life into the jewelry, than an artist.

Arviso will put the chosen stone in his pocket and go about his daily chores and routines, such as tending to his Paint horses, which he proudly breeds and raises. He will spend time with his turquoise, and it will cause him to think about his own life. Whatever feelings and thoughts he experiences while the stone is on his person will be transmitted into the final piece of jewelry he creates. This is Steve’s own rite of creativity – to understand his stone and to help it express what it wants to become. To best exhibit the turquoise, Arviso has become a master at refined, understated silverwork. Steve is fast becoming famous for his particular take on old style Navajo jewelry.

His ritual-like creation process, the high quality turquoise he uses, the specifically pre-1950s style that he embraces, and his own unique touch are what make Arviso’s works such highly sought after pieces of art.

Steve Arviso
Photo ©Brian Leddy

"I build jewelry that is meant to be kept. That's what my jewelry means to me – it's something very spiritual and personal."