Mary Louise Tafoya, Santo Domingo Tewa Jeweler

Mary Louise Tafoya is from the Santo Domingo, or Kewa Pueblo, New Mexico. Although she comes from a traditional Pueblo using an ancient “heishi” artform, Mary has gifted the jewelry world with her contemporary visions. Mary is one of eleven children born to talented jewelry artists, Frank and Anita Coriz. As a young girl, Mary helped her family string what is called “Depression era” Santo Domingo pieces. Lacking the access to more natural materials to craft jewelry, jewelry makers would search for bits and pieces of battery cases, dishes, toothbrushes, phonograph records, and fashionably recycle them into traditional looking pieces. From this grew Mary’s contemporary style.

Mary only works her craft if she feels happy. Each of her pieces is like a snowflake--one of a kind. She begins by sitting at her desk in her cheerful studio she shares with silversmith husband, Lorenzo. Mary creates her mosaic jewelry using vibrant contrasting colors of her natural materials. Her cozy workspace contains buckets and piles of sorted shell and stone waiting to be reborn into her whimsical, colorful jewelry.

The Tafoya family have many visitors and are always happy to give a tour. Mary’s award winning and highly desired work is featured in many galleries and museums throughout the U.S.

“My pieces have fooled many of my customers and even seasoned art collectors into asking, ‘How did you paint these designs?’ When told that these are the natural colors of my materials and how they are intricately inlaid, they are amazed by the detail of my work. The patience required by my parents when I helped them with the family jewelry production has helped me with numerous design ideas.”  

Mary and Lorenzo built their house within the Pueblo land holding. Each family member contributed to the solid beauty of their home. Their house is filled with pottery, textiles and artwork that Mary has traded for her own art. The love and respect for their family, ancestors, culture, and especially each other is palpable. Passing her trade onto her children, we will be blessed with this talented lineage for years to come.