Ambrose Lincoln, Diné Silversmith

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Ambrose Lincoln (1917-1989), Diné Silversmith.  He signs his jewelry with a stamp of his hallmark and the word sterling.Diné of the Navajo Nation silversmith Ambrose Lincoln was born in 1917. He worked for both C.G. Wallace and Charles Kelsey in the Zuni Gallup area and died in 1989. He is known for using high quality turquoise gemstones on finely cast pieces. He signs his jewelry with a stamp of his hallmark and the word sterling.

There has been some confusion about the relationship between Ambrose Lincoln (1917-1989) and Roanhorse. The story is interesting as it illustrates how difficult it can be to attribute jewelry to a single maker, even if it is signed.

The story begins with John Adair's 1940 book Navajo and Pueblo Silversmiths. In Adair's book, he listed them as two separate artists. They were again listed as two different silversmiths in Mark Bahti's 1980 Collecting Southwest Native American Jewelry. However, after that, the confusion began when Barton Wright designated the two as the same individual in Hallmarks of the Southwest.

Eventually the confusion was solved when the California Academy of Science made its database of the Elkus Collection available online. Documented pieces made by Ambrose Roanhorse that had hallmarks could be compared with pieces made by Ambrose Lincoln. The hallmarks and the styles of the two artists were distinctly different.

The confusion was probably a result of the fact they had the same first name and that both were at the Wingate Vocational High School-Lincoln as a student and Roanhorse as a teacher- only a year later. Both taught at the same institution-the Santa Fe Indian School, Lincoln three years after Roanhorse left.

Relative Links: Diné of the Navajo NationSouthwest Indian JewelryC. G. Wallace