Published on June 17, 2013 by Amy
Ric Charlie is an accomplished, self-taught Navajo goldsmith who has gained international acclaim for his tufa-cast jewelry. The texture and fine lines he achieves by carving in tufa stone, combined with colorful patinas and semiprecious stones, define Ric Charlie’s work. For nearly three decades, Ric has been drawing upon traditional Navajo techniques while pushing the boundaries to stay on the cutting edge of jewelry design.
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Charlie’s love of color draws him away from the turquoise commonly found in Southwestern jewelry. He instead favors the gold, rust, red, purple, blue, and green patinas he achieves by adding liver of sulfur to the silver. The fine lines in his jewelry are accomplished by cutting tufa stones (compressed volcanic rock) with dental tools.
Ric learned basic jewelry-making techniques in 1973 when he was in high school. He added to his techniques while attending college but was predominantly self taught. He was also inspired by the works of Charles Loloma.
Today, Ric Charlie teaches and advises Native artists in his unique tufa-casting methods, while still producing top-of-the-line work for galleries and collectors around the world. Ric has received numerous awards from competitions at the Heard Museum and Sante Fe Indian Market, including Best of Show, Best of Class, and the Raymond Dewey Memorial Award for Excellence in Tufa Stone Casting.