Debbie Silversmith is a Navajo jeweler from Steamboat, Arizona. The granddaughter of legendary Navajo goldsmith Kenneth Begay, Debbie Silversmith has had high expectations to fill. Debbie has beautifully filled those shoes with her own contemporary American Indian jewelry, which is special adaptations of her grandfather’s impeccable designs.
Debbie Silversmith was born on the Navajo reservation in 1957. As a child and oldest granddaughter, Debbie was fortunate to have the opportunity to spend a lot of time with Kenneth Begay, really getting to know him and learning the art of jewelry making from him. By the age of 12, Debbie Silversmith had learned to make her own silver beads entirely by hand, a tradition she carries on to this day. Debbie remembers her grandfather emphasizing technical perfection and the use of clean lines while teaching her ancient techniques like tuff casting. Especially influenced by Kenneth Begay’s famous swirls, which represent “water and life”, Debbie loves to recreate them on her own jewelry.
When Kenneth Begay passed away in 1977, Debbie Silversmith received his prized tools, including many of his stamps, which he still uses today. Since Debbie’s early instruction has stayed with her, she still proudly creates her jewelry by hand. Living on her grandfather’s old estate, Debbie still mines tuff for her molten tuff jewelry from her own backyard, and painstakingly solders and sands silver to make her own beaded necklaces. Don’t be fooled by the name “silversmith”, as Debbie has recently embarked on using gold and silver to make her jewelry. Debbie creates just about any type of jewelry you can imagine, from earrings to bracelets to bowling pins to concho belts. Often adorned with natural turquoise pieces from many different turquoise mines, Debbie’s jewelry is fantastic! Even more fantastic is that Debbie Silversmith jewelry is quite affordable and therefore accessible to almost every budget.
Debbie Silversmith comes from a family blessed with a remarkable sense of design, and has been able to use that inherited sense of design to create her own dazzling jewellery.