DESCRIPTION: A large, collection-quality squash blossom necklace handmade by famous North Cheyenne silver artist and U.S. Senator, Ben Nighthorse Campbell. This heavy, stunning necklace is one of his earlier pieces (ca. 1974) and is reputed to be the first piece he signed using his "Nighthorse" name. Crafted in sterling silver with large bench-made cone-shaped beads, this necklace is as much a piece of fine sculpture as it is jewelry. Seven large, natural "sea foam" turquoise nuggets are centered in each blossom, resting upon a black niello ground. Niello is a technique that uses metal alloys to produce a dark background; this technique is also known as zougan or shakudo in Japan. This rare necklace is best described as "spectacular" and is in excellent condition. DIMENSIONS: Naja is 3 5/8" wide (9.2 cm) x 4.25" high including center drop (10.9 cm); 39.5" long from clasp to clasp (slightly over 1 meter). Weight: 12.88 oz. or approx. 365 g
ARTIST PROFILE: For over fifty years, Northern Cheyenne artist Ben Nighthorse (born April 13, 1933), has created beautiful, award-winning jewelry, including over 200 national and international awards for jewelry design. While still in high school, he developed an interest in judo and won U.S. National titles in 1961, 1962, and 1963, and a gold medal in the 1963 Pan-American Games. In 1964, after serving in the United States Air Force, Ben moved to Tokyo to train for the 1964 Olympic games, where he captained the U.S. Olympic Judo Team. It was in Japan that he learned techniques for laminating metals from a Samurai sword maker. These techniques can be seen in this necklace and other jewelry work today.
When Campbell returned to the states, his recently acquired skills and unique style began to emerge. Ben’s commitment to using the finest precious and semi-precious gemstones, 18 karat gold and sterling silver exemplifies his dedication to establishing the highest standards of his craft. Consequently, his fame as a jeweler spread nation-wide.
Ben Campbell is also something of a Renaissance Man. Not only is he known for his jewelry making, but he was also a three-term U.S. Representative from 1987 to 1993, and the U.S. Senator from Colorado from 1993 until 2005. Campbell also serves as one of forty-four members of the Council of Chiefs of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Tribe. His achievements as a leader in government parallel his efforts in jewelry making, breaking barriers and opening doors for greater understanding, truth and beauty. To this day he fosters the same care for his artistic creations as he does for his country. If you are fortunate enough to own a piece, you’ll understand why it is in such demand.