Any thoughts on a great old bracelet?

I picked up this wonderful old bracelet and other great pieces from the estate of a close friend and collector who recently passed away. He bought it from Cowans auction several years ago. It is signed SL identified as Sam Lovato. My friend knew the the Lovato family. The information with the bracelet stated Sam was one of the first Kewa silversmiths, developed the use of silver leafs on jewelry, and taught Dan Lovato and others (Dan-deceased-ran the old trading post at Santo Domingo years ago… not sure if it’s still there). I haven’t researched Sam, but am thinking he must have been active around 1940-50? I love both the silver work and the turquoise in this piece. I’d appreciate any thoughts about Sam or the turquoise.


His dates are 1933-1999, so his productive/peak years have to be later than you’re surmising (he would have been just 20 in 1953). I found the Cowan’s auction and they stated it to be 3rd quarter of the 20th c. To me it has a 70s look.What an attractive turquoise stone!


Thanks @chicfarmer! I just pulled out Hougart and found the same info (should have done that before!). I’m wondering if he’s somewhere in the Leo Coriz, Mary Lovato, Anthony Lovato family. I agree the cuff does have that 70ish look. I was guessing based on what I learned about Sam Lovato from my friend. I visited the Dan Lovato family with him many times and got impression Sam Lovato was older…another example of how word of mouth can be less than accurate! Thanks for weighing in. I also love the turquoise, and it’s amazingly comfortable!
Happy Easter to all!

1 Like

A great cuff! I hope you will get many years of enjoyment wearing it.

1 Like

Oh my, that is a lovely stone! Great 70’s look to the bracelet. Is it a four wire construction? Can’t tell for sure.

1 Like

@SevernSound. Thanks! It’s 4 wire; actually a much heavier piece that looks in the picture.


I notice the terminals are also capped. Whoever made it didn’t cheap out. I would be inclined to say it was made circa 60’s, before the price of silver started to climb.

So I googled Sam Lovato to learn more about him and found this

I think the date on the auction post was sometime in 2015.

@Ziacat thanks for checking! Yep, that’s it. My friend had paperwork stating he purchased it from Cowens. He was a very close friend with numerous artist at Kewa. One was Dan Lovato, a nephew (?) of Sam. Dan did wonderful bead and Heishe jewelry. As I previously stated my friend said that Sam developed the use of the leaf motif on silver jewelry - who k owns, just word of mouth😊

It’s beautiful. So did Cowan’s have the Tobe Turpen ticket? And did Sam Lovato start using leaves before Dan Simplicio? Just curious.

@Bmpdvm ^I wonder if perhaps your friend has confused the name Lovato with the Platero family? It’s the Plateros who are famous as popularizing the leaf applique motif in Navajo-style/Pueblo jewelry. The work is sometimes called “Platero style.” To me the Platero approach looks a bit Mexican influenced.

@Ziacat Simplicio’s work is a whole different deal–he was Zuni–and he was earlier.

1 Like

Right, I’m very familiar with Dan Simplicio and know he’s Zuni. But I wondered if he was using leaves in his work earlier than others. What I had read said he was the first to use them in Zuni pieces. I didn’t know much about Sam Lovato.


Yes, he was earlier, like post-WWII. He developed a couple different leaf appliques over time, and others in his family also did that work but slightly differently. DS was artistically influenced by his time in Europe during the war.


That’s what I thought. I read Simplicio passed in 1969, and I remember what you previously said about Sam Lovato’s timeline being 1933-1999, so that makes sense. I’ve got a nice booklet on DS from a Heard Museum exhibit, but didn’t know anything except being familiar with the name about Sam Lovato.

And from reading your other discussion on split shank vs. wire bracelets, I’m thinking this cuff is a wire bracelet? I’m reading and learning!:grin:

Yes, four round wires. It’s really easy to distinguish the types once you examine how the silver sections meet up. Split shank has carved-out areas, and the shank then continues as a solid piece to the ends, whereas wires appear separately until they’re joined at the terminals.

1 Like

Very interesting, thanks. I looked through my cuffs out of curiosity and don’t have any that are split shank.

One more quick question, are shadow box pieces considered hollow form?

1 Like

Hollow form refers to the make of the shank (the band): two sheets with air space (air pocket) between them. Shadowbox must have two layers, but it doesn’t have to be hollow form. That is, the two layers can be fused tightly (as in an overlay bracelet) with cutouts for shadowboxing of the stones and bezels. There are also single-sheet bracelets with applied pieces that are shadowbox. I think pictures would make this clearer, lol.

So the terms are by no means interchangeable.


Sorry to be picking your brain so much!

Yes, that is helpful. I have one hollow form cuff (learned that from you when I posted it), and two shadowbox cuffs (and one ring) that seem to be also hollow form (if I’m understanding you correctly). The only overlay pieces I have are Hopi, and one Hopi cuff has a stone.

Thanks! I will try to read up on it more when I get the chance.

1 Like

@chicfarmer…Sorry about the confusion with word of mouth. I have several Ramon Platero Pieces and one by his wife, Louise. I do remember reading that he initialted the use of the silver leaf. I visited Dan Lovato at the Santo Domingo Trading Post with my friend several times, so I know he is very familiar with the Lovato Family. Dan Lovato was the brother of Ray Lovato who makes the wonderful (and expensive) natural turquoise necklaces. But I have no idea about how Sam was related except that I was told he was an early jeweler, and Dan’s uncle. Interesting that Greg Schaaf doesn’t document any family for Sam, and states he produced inlaid shells. Since my friend has recently passed away, that resource is gone, but I’ll check with his wife when I get a chance. If I can find further information, I’ll update.

1 Like