It is fitting that one of the only pieces we still have, by this gifted and gentle artist, is this beautiful buckle. Like the jeweler, who left us deeply saddened by his unexpected passing, this buckle is understated and traditional, but with a fresh approach. Well-known and happily collected for his overlay and inlay pieces, this buckle showcases Richard’s impeccable silver work, as well.
The stepped designs symbolize the great good luck of rain, while the tapered, turquoise forms suggest feathers, which are signs of prayer (for the blessings of rain, in this case). Lively rows of connected diamond shapes are reminiscent of rug patterns, a reference to the artist’s mother, who was a rug weaver.
Polished to a sparkling surface, the raised elements contrast dramatically with the darkened background. The celestial blue of the turquoise, whether inlaid in the abstract feathers, or featured in the center, is truly heavenly. It is a beautiful intermediary between the dark and gleaming silver finishes.
Gorgeous on any pair of pants, whether jeans, slacks or even formal wear, this buckle represents the best of modern Native jewelry: scrupulous workmanship, fine stones, ravishing design, and total wearability. We mourn, not only the artist, but his artistry.