Zuni Clusterwork Red Coral Ring by Lorraine & Luwayne Waatsa
Winners of blue ribbons from the Gallup Ceremonial, Lorraine and Luwayne are a husband-and-wife-duo who specialize in fine petit point and clusterwork jewelry pieces. The pair work primarily in coral, lapis and Fox Mine Turquoise. Lorraine in particular descends from a family of Zuni jewelers; the daughter of Alice and Duane Quam and grandchild of Doris and Wayne Ondelacy. Silversmith is in her blood and she was taught the craft as a youngster by her parents. Lorraine recalls making her first piece in 1971 whilst still living at home with her parents. She describes their process of making jewelry starting with shaping the stones to get them closer to the shape needed. Lorraine then grinds the stones on a 100 grit wheel without using any water. One the stone is close to the shape, she uses a sealing wax melted to a stick (size depends on the stone) and uses the stick instead of hands to perfect the size of the stone. Luwayne then finishes with the silverwork. Lorraine and Luwayne are prolific and their work is a mixture of pass-downs and newer designs. They have received recognition for their art including being published in ‘Zuni Jewelry,’ by Theda and Michael Bassman.
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