Vernon Begaye is considered to be one of the leading contemporary jewelers. Aside from his father, Jimmy Begaye, and siblings – among whom is the celebrated Marco Begaye – he had a close working association with Raymond and Lee Yazzie, who are masters of inlay; this bolo shows how well he learned.
Not only is the patchwork of beautiful stones as smooth as silk, the silver back is curved, so the stones have to follow that curve. As usual, what looks utterly simple is amazingly difficult.
The proportions of the silver and the individual stone colors are as precise as the workmanship; the design is restrained but rich in subtle detail.
Notice how the silver edges of the bolo are textured, in contrast to the ice-smooth polished lines across the body.
The reverse-tapered tips carry on the vertical lines, and echo the texture and the gentle curve of the bolo itself.
Modern in design, but with traditional materials, this bolo will look superbly handsome with a suit or sport coat, as well as with jeans.
It is a colorful, wonderful example of skill and “hozh’o”, the Navajo concept of understated, balanced beauty.