Phil Poseyesva

Phil Poseyesva

Phil Poseyesva mastered the technique of traditional Hopi overlay as a young silversmith. A self-taught artist, he started making jewelry at the age of thirteen. Today, Phil takes the clean, abstract designs of Hopi overlay and combines them with high quality stones such as natural turquoise, lapis lazuli and coral, making his work easily distinguishable from others.

While the symbols Phil uses are drawn from centuries old traditions, his work has a very modern and abstract look. He uses both sterling silver and 14-karat gold. The stones and shapes of his jewelry are often asymmetrical, adding even more drama to the highly polished silver on black background.

Hopi overlay is described as sleek, clean, balanced and dramatic. The artists take abstract Hopi symbols representing clan symbols, rain clouds, corn, birds and katsinas that were used in pottery and basketmaking, and place them into silver and gold.

The Hopi overlay technique was developed in the late 1930s to give Hopi jewelry a distinctive look. The process is difficult and requires precision and a steady hand to achieve the smooth lines and intricate detail.

Rather than making a stencil to use as a guide to cut his silver, Poseyesva draws his designs directly onto the silver or gold. A hole is punched into the silver and a tiny saw is used to cut out the design. In an appliqué-like technique, the designs are soldered onto a bottom layer of silver that will become the contrasting background.

After the piece is cooled, Poseyesva uses his own handmade chisels to create a textured background that follows the shape of the design. Chemicals oxidize and darken this layer. The textured and oxidized recessed background, combined with the highly polished raised surface, gives Hopi jewelry its characteristic look.

Poseyesva comes from the Second Mesa Village of Mishongnovi on the Hopi Reservation in Northern Arizona. Although he has gone to school and worked in several fields both on and off the Reservation -- building construction, diesel mechanics, landscaping and recreation -- he has always maintained his art of jewelry making. Poseyesva says that it's often during these breaks from full-time jewelry making that he gets re-energized and comes up with new design ideas. A member of the Bear Clan, Phil signs his work with a stylized bear paw or a double "P."

Sizing

Although the best way to test the size and fit of a piece of jewelry is to try it on in the store, we know that is not always an option. In an effort to help you choose the piece that is right for you, we have included measurements of each piece on the website. Here is how our measurements are defined:

Bracelets

Finding the right size bracelet for your wrist has always been a tricky endeavor, since, unlike rings, there isn't a standardized, universal sizing chart for wrist size. One reason for this is that we all have different shaped wrists, some of us have round wrists, while others have more oval. Bracelets, like wrists, also have different shapes.

So, while bracelet sizing will never be an exact science, we've done what we can to ensure the greatest chance of a comfortable fit. The best thing you can do if you don't know your wrist size is to take a soft measuring tape and loosely measure the circumference of your wrist at the point you plan on wearing it. Try not to have the measuring tape dig into your skin, as this will result in a smaller than ideal size. Once you have the circumference of your wrist, compare it to the chart below to find the correct bracelet size. If your wrist measures in-between two sizes, we recommend rounding up to the larger size. (ie: if your wrist measures 6.375"- you should shop for size "Medium" bracelets.)

 Wrist Circumference

Corresponding Bracelet Size

5.5"

XX-Small

5.75"

Extra-Small

6"

Small

6.25"

Small-Medium

6.5"

Medium

6.75" - 7"

Medium-Large

7.25"

Large

7.5"

Extra-Large

7.75"

XX-Large

8"

XXX-Large

 

You may want to drill down further on the bracelet sizing to make sure the cuff is a comfortable fit. You will notice on our website that we generally list four measurements for bracelets:

Keep in mind that certain bracelets can be adjusted slightly to fit your wrist, but those with inlay or stones all the way around will be damaged if bent. In any case, it is always best to check with with us to see if a particular bracelet is adjustable.

Lastly, have no fear! If you order a bracelet that doesn't fit, send it back for one that does! We want this to be a positive experience, you should never wear something that isn't 100% comfortable. More on our return policy here.

Buckles

Sizing belt buckles is pretty straightforward. The height and width are self-explanatory, and the belt width describes the maximum belt width the buckle will fit on.

Concha Belts

We try to include the height and width for the conchas, as well as the buckle (if different), and the width of the belt they are on. The length of the concha belts can be less important, because these belts are often made quite long to accommodate many waist sizes, and then can be shortened to fit the wearer. If you are concerned whether or not a belt will fit you, just ask. We are happy to size most of our concha belts before shipping.