Designer Spotlight: Kabana and the Art of Inlay

Established in 1975 by the esteemed master of inlay, Stavros Eleftheriou, Kabana blossomed from an abiding passion for exquisite jewelry and unparalleled craftsmanship. 

Distinguished as one of the rare fine jewelry designers and manufacturers entirely rooted in the USA, Kabana orchestrates every facet of creation, from initial sketch to meticulous inspection, within the heart of Southwest America, New Mexico.

Specializing in the art of inlay, Kabana employs the most exuisite materials, including gold, silver, and precious gemstones. Each piece of Kabana jewelry is a testament to the artistry of their skilled craftsmen and artists.

Only artisans of the highest caliber are entrusted with the inlay process for Kabana pieces. Every gemstone is painstakingly sculpted by hand, ensuring an impeccable fit within its designated setting, and then painstakingly hand-polished to a flawless sheen. This meticulous inlay technique results in a gemstone that gracefully rises above the gold, forming a distinctive dome, which has become Kabana's globally recognized signature look.

Lapis Kabana ring

What is Inlay?

Inlay jewelry boasts a heritage dating back to the early Egyptians and Greeks, finding its primary use in adorning objects like crowns and religious artifacts.

The art of Native American inlay jewelry finds its roots in the skilled hands of the Zuni Indians of the Southwestern USA, who embarked on this craft shortly after 1900 A.D. Navajo Indian Jewelers, in contrast, took up the practice more recently, during the 1950-60's.

The realm of inlay jewelry encompasses a diverse array of types and styles, employing a wide spectrum of materials. Stone inlay jewelry showcases meticulously cut and shaped stones, seamlessly integrated into the surface of a piece, resulting in a sleek and harmonious design. This technique might involve a singular stone variety, like turquoise or lapis lazuli, or a blend of stones to craft visually captivating patterns and motifs.

Among the various techniques employed in fashioning stone inlay jewelry are channel inlay, where stones are nestled within narrow grooves, and mosaic inlay, where small stone fragments are artfully arranged to form intricate patterns or images.

Mosaic Mother of Pearl RIng

For Kabana, only artisans of the utmost skill are entrusted with the inlay process. Each gemstone undergoes a painstaking hand-sculpting process, ensuring a perfect fit within its designated setting, followed by an equally meticulous hand-polishing procedure that bestows a flawless radiance. This exacting inlay technique culminates in a gemstone that elegantly rises above the gold, forming a distinct dome—a hallmark of Kabana's globally acclaimed signature aesthetic.

Nestled within the walls of a historic adobe church, the Kabana workshop is a testament to the creation of some of the most exquisite inlay jewelry you'll encounter. At Water Street Jewelers, we take immense pride in our enduring partnership with Kabana. Whether you visit our physical stores or explore our pieces online, we are happy to introduce you to the exceptional craftsmanship of Kabana.


Kabana Pendant Necklace

Lumiere Kabana Ring

Opal Kabana RIng