The bug pin is a time-honored tradition among Navajo jewelers. Herbert Ration is an artist known for these fabulously colorful pins.
Here, he has fashioned a spider, a bug that is particularly important to the Navajo people, using a variety of stones and silver with a satin finish.
The spider’s body is made up of a large piece of natural, orange spiny oyster shell. The artist has left the shell in its natural form, rather than buffing out the grooves and ridges that are an inherent part of this material.
For the head, Herbert has used a rather unusual stone: Unakite. According to geology.com, “Unakite is the name used for a coarse-grained granitic rock that, after metamorphism, contains abundant pink orthoclase and pistachio-green epidote.” The stone is gently curved and polished, allowing the various greens and pinks to shine.
His antennas are adorned with little beads of Sleeping Beauty turquoise, and his feet each have a different stone inlaid: Hematite, Jade, Lapis, Malachite, Mother of Pearl, Moonstone, Denim Lapis, and Tigers Eye.
The whole piece is put together with sterling silver that has been given a soft, satin finish that really lets the stones shine. But don’t be fooled, the silverwork is expertly done, a testament to the skills of the artist.
The spider’s bright colors and slightly curved antennas make him appear friendly and suggest that he will be happy to sit on your lapel or hat, or wherever you choose to put him and enjoy your day with you.