Leonard Nez’s jewelry is featured in the Smithsonian Institution. It is characterized by excellent chiseling, stamp work, and deeply grooved overlay.
From heavy equipment operator to manipulator of fine tools in delicate designs seems a long road, but with some mentoring from the late, great Gibson Nez (no relation), he quickly found the way.
This bolo shows his skill, design sense, and a very fine stone. And, also like Gibson, Leonard is an avid rodeo participant.
Centered with a brilliantly blue, natural Tyrone turquoise, the intricate silver work is a handsome contrast.
Tyrone turquoise comes from a now-closed copper mine in southwestern New Mexico. The proximity to copper gives it that vivid blue hue, similar to Morenci, and Bisbee.
Tyrone is a gorgeous, but rare turquoise.
There are actually two, separate, overlaid areas and designs in this bolo: the center, which is slightly raised above the other overlaid design, and the lower one, encompassing stylized feather motifs and stepped rain signs.
The beautiful stone is set with three different bezels around it: a plain and oxidized one that supports it, one that is chiseled, to relate to the chiseled feather motifs on the flat border, and the last, outer one, that is polished to a high shine like the edge of the center plaque.
On either side of the centerpiece, a curvy “cricket” design is divided by stepped rain symbols.
Feathers are symbols of prayers, as in this case, usually for rain.
The precisely cut elements are laid over a flat and darkened silver background, with a thin, raised frame around it.
Cylindrical tips are chiseled in parallel lines, subtly echoing the chiseled lines prominent in the bolo itself. Kept very simple, they give a finished look to the bolo, but don’t compete for attention.
A timeless bolo of the highest quality in every way: Exemplary silver work, in an updated and beautiful, classic design, with a rare and lovely, natural turquoise.
Leonard has come a very long way from shifting heavy equipment!