By Shanan Campbell Wells
Jewelry artist Doug Magnus lived in Silverton, Colorado as a young boy. His uncle worked the silver mines that gave the town its name, and although he didn’t know it at the time, Doug’s soul was beginning to root deep into the earth’s crust in search of hidden treasure.
Doug currently owns three principle turquoise mines near Santa Fe, New Mexico. The mines contain as valuable a cultural heritage as the semi-precious rock that has been extracted since Pueblo Indian societies thousands of years ago. Referred to as the Cerrillos mines, this once rich reservoir for turquoise has now been nearly exhausted. Nonetheless, Doug recognized that the region should be preserved as a historical landmark. “On a folk and historical level, turquoise is the Western and American gemstone”.
Doug uses turquoise, silver and gold in his jewelry. His craftsmanship is identifiable in a traditional way that speaks to a long line of past artisans. He labels his work by stamping the location of the mine on his creations, which is an uncommon practice that serves to establish identity, quality and value.
Sorrel Sky Gallery has represented Doug’s work since the gallery first opened. “Cerrillos Turquoise Beads” features natural nugget turquoise against alternating silver beads.
“There’s no stone like turquoise, and rarely are two pieces alike.”
His’s newest collection represents the 400-year history of the European established colony of Santa Fe, in gold and silver.
“The Santa Fe Collection” is a testament to Castilian influence in the area four centuries ago. Doug researched 17th century Spanish coins and artifacts and selected distinguishing attributes in designing pendants and earrings. His pendants capture asymmetrically balanced Franciscan crosses of gold across irregularly cast silver disks stamped with iconic motifs and antique-like dates. Money clips and bracelets round out the collection, designed to stand-alone, and yet are even more outstanding as a complete set. It is as if we have unearthed a treasure chest hidden for 400 years.
Doug’s ability to create artwork that also commemorates a historical event is a testament to his skills as an artist, and his dedication to preserving his heritage. Invest in the proclamation heralding the first explorers from Europe, told through the beautiful art of Doug Magnus.