Silver and Stones: Collaborations in Southwest Jewelry
Currently on display in the New Mexico History Museum’s Palace of the Governors, is an unusual jewelry collection from the 1940s and 1950s that exemplifies a beneficial economic relationship between Diné (Navajo) silversmith, David Taliman (1901–1967), and Jewish merchant, William C. Ilfeld (1905–1979). William C. Ilfeld was the grandson of the Jewish pioneer Charles Ilfeld, who emigrated from Germany in 1865. William managed the Native American jewelry department at the family’s department store in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Taliman worked in several trading post shops including Maisel’s in Albuquerque and Julius Gan’s Southwest Arts and Crafts in Santa Fe. Ilfeld’s designs were produced by Native artisans, like Taliman, who often used stones from his personal collection. The jewelry was donated by Ilfeld to the New Mexico History Museum in 1971 and is part of the museum’s permanent collection.
Photo credit: Necklace; David Taliman (Diné) 1940s–1950s, Commissioned by William C. Ilfeld-New Mexico History Museum (NMHM/DCA), 05355.45