Gene & Martha Jackson - Native American - Navajo Jewelry

Martha passed away January 16th, 2019, she will be greatly missed by family, friends, students,and customers. 

Gene & Martha Jackson - Navajo   Arizona, USA

I absolutely love Gene and Martha.  They are such lovely people, they always have a coterie of family members around them.  They work only in natural stones and, honestly, often don't even know what they are called, they just liked them.

Born in 1932, Gene is a master jeweler who has been active since the late 1940's.  He is a veteran of the Korean war, having served in the Army.  He married Martha and trained her in jewelry-making, she started producing work in the 1960's. Gene is brother to another master jeweler, Dan Jackson.

Martha had a Master's degree from University of Arizona.  She taught linguistics at Dine College, striving to preserve the language that the US Government tried so hard to eliminate (the same language that was used throughout World War II to prevent the Japanese from understanding our vital radio transmissions, go figure.) On her passing, she was awarded emeritus status on the faculty at Dine College.

Martha had experienced a bad bout with pneumonia in 2015.  She made it back to Indian Market in 2016 but, sadly, was noticeably less robust than in the past.

I last saw Martha in Prescott in 2017.  It was there she told me her beloved daughter Bernice (also a educator and jeweler), had died, after a short illness, less than a month previous on June 10th.  Bernice had been the "rock" that helped her parents with their booths at shows. Martha was understandably devastated and clearly the wind had been taken out of her sails.

Martha was one of my very favorite people to see at shows and catch up.  I'm sorry she is gone but am glad to have known her.  I don't know if Gene will continue, he has been quite frail the few years and just may not be up for it anymore.

I do still have some of their work, posted and unposted.

They are the parents of five children, including jeweler Tommy Jackson (see elsewhere on my site) and many grandchildren.

My customers love their work often because of the stones and the fact that they are accessible, price-wise for handmade jewelry.  They have always been so generous with me, letting me buy at the beginning of a show, instead of at the end.

They only see me briefly once or twice a year and tend to not remember my name but have latched on to calling me "Tall Woman from New Jersey" which I find quite amusing. I always looked forward to seeing them.

Gene and Martha designed around the stones so every piece is different even if the settings are similar.

In addition to the small pieces they do traditional silver-work of sand casting and shadowbox bracelets.