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Silviano Quintana (1915-2003)


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Silviano Quintana was a silversmith from Cochiti Pueblo. He produced jewelry by the piece on an hourly wage for Julius Gan's Southwest Arts & Crafts curio store in Santa Fe. In the early years, following his 1920s opening of the store, Gans would drive to Gallup, New Mexico, to purchase jewelry from dealers. After a few years, he was purchasing directly from pueblo artists in their homes. By the 1930s, Gan's store was the largest retail curio operation in Santa Fe.

Gans set up a silversmithing shop at the curio store with positions for 24 pueblo jewelers. Silversmiths or smiths had to provide their own tools but Gans provided the materials-silver and turquoise. Early jewelry was made from Mexican pesos but later, sheet silver was used. Smiths, working at the store or from their homes, would be paid an hourly wage determined by Gans by tracking every step in the process of on-site jewelers. The same hourly wage applied to those working at the store or from their homes.

Silviano Quintana moved to Santa Fe with his wife and worked for Gans as a smith for a number of years. Gans discontinued the operation in 1941 and converted the silversmithing shop into a display area. Quintana enlisted into the U. S. Army and served in World War II.

Quintana was awarded 1st and 2nd Place Awards in the 1954 New Mexico State Fair. Little is published on him after that date. He lived at the pueblo, and is assumed to have continued producing jewelry, until he passed away in 2003.

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