About Patania Jewelry
Three generations of Patania men have been working for over 70 years, creating jewelry and decorative objects that have come to be known for their excellence in craftsmanship and design.
In October 2000, Kenneth Trapp, co-curator of the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery, took possession of three Patania bracelets (Fig. 1, 2, 3) to be placed in the museum's permanent jewelry collection.
The renowned Renwick Gallery's acknowledgment of the family's work came as no surprise to those who were already admirers, clients, and collectors of Patania pieces, but the move did confirm the family's important role in 20th century jewelry.
Trapp himself perhaps said it best, in talking to the Arizona Daily Star, October 25, 2000 about the acquired Patania bracelets: "I really feel that these three pieces represent the very best of craftspeople and designers. What interests me is the quality of design-they're absolutely stunning."
Frank Patania Jr. continued his father’s tradition and brought a Modernist mastery into the Patania repertoire. Frank Jr. was compelled by pure craftsmanship to explore his art and push Patania design beyond the Southwest to become fashionable in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. The many museums which collect Patania jewelry, including the Smithsonian National Museum of Art, attest to the broad appeal of Patania design and definitive craftsmanship.
Sam Patania has continued his family’s tradition in classic design and craftsmanship. Sam is recognized as an influence in couture jewelry. Building on both his predecessor’s design influences Sam has taken them to a national level by incorporating precious metals and stones. Sam’s passion for jewelry and the studio heritage spur him to explore the art of technique and design. Since opening the family business in Santa Fe, NM in 1927, the Patania family has always created distinctive jewelry that art collectors around world recognize and prize for uncompromising standards of excellence.
Frank Patania, Sr., Floral Spray, c. 1940. Fabricated sterling silver with Burnham turquoise.
Frank Patania, Jr., Elliptical bracelet, c. 1960. Fabricated sterling silver. According to Frank Jr., the object's design and craftsmanship should speak for itself.
Sam Patania, Bracelet, Fabricated 18k white gold with opposed bar tourmaline. Sam's work is the melding of generations-he places great importance on his choice of stones, just like his grandfather, but has taken his father's eye for technical detail to heart, as well.
The art of Silver Jewelry was brought to the Southwestern United States by Spanish colonials. The art came with a strong Mediterranean influence which incorporated all the cultures of that region. Patania Jewelry is influenced by this Mediterranean tradition because Frank Patania Sr. was born in Sicily. When Frank arrived in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the 1920’s he was already a highly regarded craftsmen who’s sense of design influenced Native American jewelry and was in turn influenced by flavor of the Southwest.