Maria Samora walks with feet in two worlds. Her father Frank Samora, was immortalized by Frank Waters in his book The Man Who Killed The Deer.
Her mother arrived at the Lama Foundation during the 70’s on a road trip with her sister from California, met Frank and stayed.Maria’s diverse background comes into play in the designs she creates, the incredible sophistication of form and craftsmanship which evolve organically in the artist’s hand and yet recall natural elements – a leaf, a stone – in their understated and elegant simplicity.
Maria was born and raised in Taos but her mother’s worldly outlook exposed her to culture and art from everywhere. These disparate influences resonate in the unique jewelry Maria has become known for. Heavy silver cuffs, oxidized and set with diamonds, delicate pendants of 18k gold, gold cuffs (always 18 or 22k) with faceted rubies, dangling geometric earrings and huge geodes hanging from weighty gold or silver chains, or set in chunky bezels on rings, all bear the artist’s signature style; totally contemporary yet timeless and extremely wearable.
The designer herself, wears her pieces effortlessly and very casually. A stack of gem – encrusted rings worn with an armload of bracelets and an oxidized silver pendant set with diamonds, seemed perfect paired with the simple sweater and jeans she was wearing the day I visited her studio in El Prado. These jewels are in no way too precious to wear during the day despite the quality of metals and gemstones she works with. This I think is what makes Maria’s jewelry so modern and collectible.
Maria has established herself as a fine jeweler in a relatively short time span. She apprenticed with jeweler Phil Poirier for several years before branching out on her own. In 2005 she participated in her first Santa Fe Indian Market and by 2009 she became the poster artist for SWAIA’s Indian Market, the youngest artist ever to receive the award. She was also the first jeweler and one of only three women to represent SWAIA.
Long a favourite jewelry source for stylish women in Taos and Sante Fe, these days Maria’s collectors come from all over the world, seeking her out in her little studio showroom that is way off the beaten track. Her work is constantly evolving, inspired often by the stones she buys at gem shows or something she sees in nature, along with the immediacy of the moment.
Visit Maria’s website linked below for more information about the artist and her work.
Photographs of Maria and her husband, writer, artist and photographer Kevin Rebholtz (we’ll be doing a post on him soon) and jewelry at their studio by Bill Curry