Son of traditional jewelers, brother to another much-awarded jeweler (Marco Begaye), Vernon’s work incorporates his individual vision with cultural references. This beautiful bear pin, for instance, starts with that age-old symbol of strength and protection, but becomes a stunningly modern interpretation.
Sterling silver is ever so slightly curved, and fashioned into a lovely, rounded, abstract portrayal of this Native icon. The design is a medley of curves, curls and rounds. Instead of the expected heartline, reaching back from the animal’s mouth and symbolizing his power, there is a graceful design of curling elements. The polished silver body is overlaid over these sugar-textured arabesques, forming a glittering contrast. The design resembles a cornstalk, symbol of happiness, health and abundance.
Embedded in the middle of the cornstalk is a glowing, natural red coral dome, encircled by a raised ring of silver. Directly below, the legs of the bear are simplified to form an elongated arch separating front and back. A series of round stamped dots outlines this arch, resembling raindrops. A gorgeous, bright blue, natural Morenci turquoise appears to be supporting the bear’s legs.
Red coral symbolizes the land and the sun; blue turquoise represents water and sky. Together, sun and water in balance create thriving plants, so people are happy, prosperous, and healthy.
Full of ancient cultural symbols, this graceful, abstract design brings the past and the present together in a beautiful way, with the finest stones and exemplary workmanship – the best of all worlds.