American Jewelry and Artifact Information
About Sterling Silver Overlay
Overlay pieces are made of two layers. The bottom sterling silver layer is a solid piece. The top sterling silver layer has a cutout design. The cutout is placed over the bottom layer and the two pieces are "sweated" together, that is heated so that they become one.
The bottom layer (background to the cutout) is usually accented. The Navajo silversmiths oxidize the bottom layer which darkens it, like the sunface pendant by Charlton Lindsay shown at right.
Hopi silversmiths etch the background (texturize it) with hashmarks before oxidizing it, like the kokopelli maze buckle by Joe Josytewa shown at left.