Mentored by his uncle, the late, celebrated Fred Kabotie, founder of the “Hopi style” of jewelry and the Hopi Guild (which trained many jewelers), Watson is a major, prize-winning jeweler himself.
He is especially noted for his flawless workmanship, the high drama of his designs, which relate to Hopi culture and life, and a very effective mixing of silver and gold.
This stunning cuff has it all. Heavy-gauge sterling is darkened and textured to form the base for a series of equally heavy, appliqued medallions of 14-karat gold.
Each of the seven designs is bracketed by sterling silver “L’s” that represent rain. The impeccably cut-out gold designs are centered by a gleaming Sunface.
From the left end of the bracelet there are: A half sun with wind and rain radiating from its top. The hand of protection and blessing, with a water spiral forming the palm. A turtle, with rainclouds and rain decorating its shell.
To the right of the central Sunface, there are: Kokopelli, dancing as he blows his seeds into the ground; a frog, with a raincloud as its tail and, finally, the spiral symbolizing the river of life.
Each of these gold designs is substantial, so they all stand out from the background silver in thickness, as well as in color and polish. The same is true of the silver brackets framing each medallion.
This beautifully realized design reflects the Hopi need for a balance of sun and water. As dry farmers, they depend on rainfall to offset the desert sun and result in abundant crops.
Frogs and turtles are considered very good luck, as are all other creatures who thrive in and around water.
With brilliant artistry and workmanship, this magnificent bracelet also reflects a crucial aspect of Hopi life.
It is at once a gorgeous, timeless piece of jewelry and an enduring expression of a culture.