Jewelry Designer and Former Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell
For decades retired US Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell has created jewelry from his studio in Ignacio, Colorado. Campbell's start in jewelry making came as a child, when he learned silversmithing from his father. In a 2006 interview Campbell told the Rocky Mountain News: "Public office is pretty darn tough to be in - that's a life I left behind," he says. "I didn't really get to see my children grow up ... I was a jeweler before I was a politician. Jewelry was my sole income for years. What had been my full time living out of office became my therapy in office." Campbell is said to be an innovator in American Indian jewelry, being one of the first Indian artists to use diamonds, opals and gold. Celebrities such as Mick Jagger have purchased his jewelry.
This past November Campbell contributed the limited edition Creation Pendant (shown here) to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI).
The NMAI describes the Creation Pendant as "a hand-cast, reversible pendant with a center stone on both sides. Measuring approximately two inches long and two inches wide, the item is limited to a strict quantity of no more than 1,000 pieces." They say that it was inspired by a pendant worn for good luck by the Moors in the 14th century. The Creation Pendant is sold exclusively through the museum and with all proceeds benefiting NMAI programs. As a congressman in 1989, Campbell sponsored the bill which formally authorized the establishment of the NMAI.
Campbell’s jewelry is also available for purchase online at Canyon Country Originals.
See also: Senatorial Silversmith & Southern Utes, FLC help bring jewelry into spotlight at The Durango Herald Online.