Charles Loloma

Charles Loloma (1921-1971) is one of the better-known jewelry designers who worked with turquoise and other materials in a Native American fashion. His aesthetic was steeped in the Hopi tradition, his native tribe, but his genius was giving it a contemporary edge, in part by introducing non-traditional Hopi materials like lapis, coral and gold.

 

World-renowned Loloma authority, Martha Hopkins Struever, wrote, “When I first saw Charles Loloma’s jewelry, in an issue of Arizona Highways in the early 1970s, I was stunned by its beauty. The artist who created these pieces was an extraordinary individual-  a person so gifted that if I was going to collect American Indian art, this was someone I wanted to know and whose work I would collect.”

 

Today, his jewelry is featured in museum collections such as the Heard Museum in Phoenix and the Wheelwright Museum in Santa Fe.

Charles Loloma, an American artist of Hopi ancestry with a passion for jewelry design.

Loloma was born in Hoteville, Arizona. While in high school, his artistic career began as a painter and muralist when Fred Kabotie asked Loloma to assist him in the reproduction of murals from the Awatovi site on the Hopi reservation for New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Loloma later worked for the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939 with Kabotie and René d’Harnoncourt. The group designed murals in the Federal Building on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay.

 

Loloma went on to study ceramics and open a pottery shop with his wife in Scottsdale. Despite the popularity of “Lolomaware,” the artist is best known for his jewelry making, which took precedence over his other crafts. “Nothing in the vast realm of Southwestern jewelry is as unique, as identifiable and as in demand as the contemporary design, craftsmanship and awe inspiring work of Charles Loloma,” says Annie McLagan, Managing Director of the Denver Regional office at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.