Effie Calavaza was born in 1928 at Zuni Pueblo. She is known for jewelry featuring a snake wrapped around Turquoise and/or Coral stones. Effie’s jewelry is very recognizable because of the unique design. Her jewelry is hallmarked “Effie C. Zuni”. Her work includes bolos, bracelets, buckles, cuff links, earrings, money clips, necklaces, pendants, pins, rings and watchbands. And, yes, she is still making pieces herself! But, she also has taught her family to help her make the snake jewelry. Effie brings the jewelry into the Trading Post to sell only when she is satisfied it is up to her standards. Her work is in collections around the world. She has won awards at the Inter-tribal Indian Ceremonial in Gallup, New Mexico.
The snake or serpent is important in many Native American tribes. The Kolowisi appears during the Zuni initiation ceremony and is regarded as a very powerful fetish animal. A Zuni story tells of the time that the water serpent (Kolowisi) began to flood the world because the people had strayed from the traditional path. They fled to the top of a nearby mountain. But, it was only when a young girl and boy dressed in their finest walked out into the sea of water and sank from sight that the floods