Sam Patania Biography
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.
The three generations of Patania men had been working for over 70 years, creating jewelry and decorative objects that have come to be known for their excellence in craftsmanship and design. Silver and turquoise are a specialty as well as gold, silver and platinum and colored stones. From Southwestern style to Modernist, the Patania family represents the finest in fashion, craftsmanship and innovation of design.
Wearing a piece of Patania Jewelry is like owning a piece of history. The Patania family has three generations of artists in the Smithsonian permanent collection in the Renwick American Craft Gallery in Washington, DC. This is a unique accolade for the Patanias as no other family has had this tribute to multiple generations of their artists.
Patania's fascination with the brilliant colours of gemstones differentiates his style from those of his father and grandfather, also represented in the Luce Foundation Center. Patania states, "A desire to learn drives my work. New techniques, symmetry, asymmetry, materials - all are areas which continue to drive my designs. Color captures my eye and the thought of the beautiful women who will wear my work keeps me inspired."
As a teenager, Sam apprenticed to his father and over the next ten years he learned and came to love the art of jewelry. When Sam took over the family business in 1990, he began to define himself as an artist, evolving his personal vision of this artform.
In 1999 the Tucson Museum of Art gave the Patania family the Contemporary Southwest Images XIV show and exhibit: The Stonewall Foundation Series titled "The Patanias: A Legacy in Silver and Gold".
The family's artistic recognition was again celebrated when the Smithsonian National Museum of American Art accepted three pieces, one from each Patania generation into the permanent collection at the Renwick Gallery in Washington DC.
Since that time Sam has continued to define himself as an artist. Sam has paid close attention to the fashion world because he believes that in order to be an evolving contemporary artist in jewelry he must understand where his work fits into the world of fashion. Sam is sensitive to the power, strength and confidence that fashion brings to everyday life. Through this insight, he continues to create highly valued designs that are becoming classics because they will always be in style.
On Artist vs Craftsman
"I don't want to be my grandfather or my dad in design, I want to push that. I think that is just the artistic bent, wanting to do new things. I think that is what distinguishes an artist and a craftsman."
"Wearability in my jewelry is very important. And that I think comes from the family business. I want people to be able to wear it and I want them to enjoy it. It has to feel good. It has to have a weight to it The edges can't be sharp. I like to fit bracelets to my clients. Because I just want the piece to be worn, that is why I made it."
On Expanding the Family Tradition
"I think my grandfather just loved it. My dad loves it. I think about it all the time. I just love it. I sleep, eat, and breathe it."
- Smithsonian Magazine: March 1, 2002
- Tucson Lifestyle Home and Garden: June 1, 2003
- Interweave Press: December 1, 2006
- Jeweled Legacy: The Foothills : May 1, 2007
- Interweave Press: June 1, 2009
- Interweave Press: September 1, 2009
- Interweave Press: June 1, 2010
- Interweave Press: April 1, 2012
- Interweave Press: December 1, 2012
- Interweave Press: May 1, 2013
Honors and Awards
- Permanent Collection of the Smithsonian, Smithsonian Museum of American Art, September 2000
- Contemporary Southwest Images XIV Stonewall Foundation Series, Stonewall Foundation, September 1999