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 intricate workmanship, the high drama of his designs, which relate to Hopi culture and life, and effective mixing of silver and gold.
This superb buckle demonstrates his faultless command of metal work.
The overlay rain and cloud designs at the sides are impeccably sawn out of one solid layer of 14-karat gold, and soldered onto the darkened bottom layer of silver .
The high contrast of finishes – dark and textured, and brilliantly polished – accentuates both the pattern and the workmanship.
At the center is an eagle dancer, resplendent in gleaming gold. Result: dazzling but tasteful drama.
Rain clouds and lightning hover above, with a Pueblo village behind the eagle dancer.
Eagles carry prayers and hopes up to the heavens, and here, the prayer for life-giving rain is heard.
The perfectly executed elements are composed to form a beautifully executed, rhythmic harmony of theme and forms.
The buckle richly satisfies the eye, and conveys profound meaning, as well.
This magnificent piece is signed, of course, and every element is hand made, even the working parts at the back