Virgil Ortiz | NMAIxVO



January | 2018
Virgil Ortiz Designs Jewelry Collection for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian


The jewelry infuses various elements of Ortiz’s heritage into motifs for the collection. The jewelry collection will be exclusively available at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian stores in D.C. and New York.


     Ortiz, who is known for his captivating, provocative and edgy designs, created four signature motifs for the collection: Wild Spinach, Rez Spine, Water and Turkey Tracks. These design motifs are the basis of natural elements he uses to create his pottery.


     Wild Spinach is a reference to the plant required to prepare the black paint Ortiz uses to create the geometric and traditional designs on his clay works. Rez Spine symbolizes a stepladder emerging from a kiva – a portal to the next life. Water is used to mix the clay and the Turkey Track emblem makes it impossible to tell the front of the foot from the back—implying “no one can track your next move.”


     The collection marks the largest jewelry assortment Ortiz has been involved in. He is well known for his ceramics as well as for a high-fashion line, both of which celebrate his Native heritage. He has also collaborated with the fashion maven Donna Karan on a series of textiles and is the creator of a carpet collection called Indigenous Imprint® for hotels and resorts.


     Creating and promoting a global awareness of Pueblo culture is reflected in the design components that reach past a traditional Ortiz sculpture or vessel and delve in to an untapped age of design elements that honor a rich civilization whose wealth multiplies with the skill and vision of each new generation.


     The motifs for the new jewelry collection, which offers pieces for both men and women, have the same revivalist vision of all of Ortiz’s creations, whose works are in the collections of museums in the Netherlands, Paris, Denver, Los Angeles and New York.


     The collection includes bangles, cuffs, earrings, necklaces and cuff links, all in sterling silver. The pieces are currently available in the museum shop of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., as well as online at The line will be available at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City in February.