Considered among the leading contemporary, Native jewelers, Vernon and his equally famous brother, Marco, learned from their father, then developed their own visions. Vernon’s work blends traditional and contemporary sensibilities, always working with the finest stones.This necklace shows his remarkably precise workmanship, coupled with a lovely use of color in the natural stones.
The centerpiece is a fabulous, rounded oval or natural Bisbee turquoise – one of the most coveted and rare of the native southwestern turquoise stones, especially in a size like this – visible to naked eye. Its characteristic rich blue is seen here (more so in real life than on my screen, at least) with the familiar reddish-brown matrix. It is a a beautiful and intricately varied stone. The luminous turquoise is supported by a ring of silver bears spaced regularly around a handmade silver chain.
Note the smooth finishes of each silver element, including the “paperclip chain, which is of a good-feeling, comfortable rounded and substantial gauge. Bears are revered symbols of protection, power, and survival skill in almost all Native tribes across the nation. These gracefully formed bears are glisten in polished silver, each one either inlaid, with a different stamped pattern, or plain silver with an overlaid lightning heartline – the source of its powers.
Starting from top left: plain silver, inlaid with one lapis and two red coral rectangles, and a scattering of stamped dots, symbolizing raindrops, around its legs. Inlaid with one raised lapis stone; rain symbols stamped on the chest, and a tapered, textured line on the rump, signifying raindrops. Center bear again plain, with the heartline. On the right, from the bottom up: two flat inlaid coral, with a raised center lapis, and the stamped raindrops around the legs. A last, plain silver bear with overlay heartline. Bear with flush inlaid lapis and rain signs on the chest; tapered, textured line of rain on the back.
Wonderful stones, impeccable execution, and intriguing backstory, as well as just plain stunning – this is a necklace to wear dressed up, or down. Either way, expect compliments and comments.