Curtis Benavidez is a silversmith from Santo Domingo Pueblo, New Mexico. He is one of the few active silversmiths from Santo Domingo Pueblo which is best known for its necklace and earring makers who do not, for the most part, smith silver.
We commissioned a few pendants from Curtis Benavidez in the summer of 2012. In most cases we gave him no specific instructions concerning the designs of these pendants. In this case, however, we'd matched up a group of stones to make a butterfly pendant. Curtis added the stylistic elements to make this group of natural, untreated Bisbee turquoise stones come alive through his design and silverwork. This group of high-domed stones was cut by Conrad Armijo from rough rock, natural turquoise from the renowned Bisbee Mine in southern Arizona. The large bale is also decorated with stampwork, a Bisbee stone and textured by starred buttons and raindrops. An overlaid piece of Sterling on the back of the pendant provides an outline of the butterfly in stampwork. String this pendant on large, brushed, oxidized Sterling beads (see below).
The large drop earrings that accompany this pendant were made by Navajo smith Eva King and were not originally intended to go with the pendant. Once we saw what a perfect match the earrings and pendant made, we married them together as a set.
This is a one-of-a-kind set that will never be replicated. We will not break this set; it is only available as the full set of pendant and earrings.
Hallmarked with an intertwined "CB" on the back of the pendant's bale and stamped Sterling. Eva hallmarked the back of one of the earring drops with her maker's mark of "EMK" along with her pictographic mark which is a combination of her initials and looks like a bear claw.
Stones on pendant: head 3/8" diameter; wings (2) 13/16" x 3/8" & (2) 11/16" x 3/8"; center body 9/16" x 1/2"; below center 5/8" x 7/16"; tail 7/8" x 3/8"; on bale 3/8" x 5/16"
Butterfly (excluding bale): length 3"; wingspan 2 1/4"
Bale: 11/16" opening (16 mm.)
Total hang (top of bale to tip of tail): 4"
Stones on earrings: on posts (2) 3/8" x 5/16"; on drops (2) 5/8" x 1/2"
Total hang of earrings: 1 7/8"
Weight of turquoise (pendant & earrings): 108 carats