This younger jeweler learned by osmosis, and direct advice from some heavy-hitting jewelers, such as Ira and Gary Custer, Will Begay, and Wilford Henry.
Before jewelry became his life’s work, he went to college, studying civil engineering, to please his father.
He says he uses some of that knowledge in his work, which especially favors tufa cast silver, as in this dramatic bracelet.
His work is characterized by rugged elegance and a substantial feel.
Here, boldly curved and cut, tapered “arms ” flank a center rectangle that is inlaid with a complex of stones, wood, and ivory.
Each tufa cast silver side is heavily textured, with a raised, stylized dragonfly in shimmering polished silver.
Each dragonfly extends almost to the end of the cuff, with a gracefully extended tail.
The double bars toward the head, which represent the wings, are artfully proportioned and placed to complement and repeat the vertical and horizontal lines of the inlaid pattern.
Polished silver frames a center pattern of rectangles and squarish forms, in an interesting mix of robust materials and colors.
Dark ironwood is in the majority, with flashes of color from natural red coral, lacy-webbed blue turquoise, mellow fossil ivory, and a shot of bright white howlite.
Thematically, dragonflies represent water, while wood and coral represent the earth; turquoise refers to the sky and water, and the warm ivory might stand for the sun.
The balance of nature, so appreciated by the Navajo is therefore, achieved, along with the good luck symbols of water.
This is traditional symbolism, but these elements have been depicted and composed in a wholly original way.
The bracelet is definitely not dainty, neither in design nor in execution, but it has a riveting presence and handsome esthetic that matches the serious message.
Dynamic and dramatic, but not overpowering, this is a bracelet that will light up casual clothes for years and years.