Award-winning jeweler, painter, activist, teacher, mentor, and tribal official, Roger Tsabetsaye is especially noted for his luxurious, but simple, pieces set flawlessly with the highest quality stones.
His trajectory through the arts began in elementary school: he was always interested in learning, and was the first kid to understand English, then.
He started out painting, inspired by his culture’s symbols and figures. (The Phillips Collection museum, in Tulsa, exhibits one of his early paintings.)
A Rockefeller scholarship took him to the University of Arizona for several summers, which led to the Rochester Institute of Technology, in New York State.
That is when he began making the jewelry that is his personal interpretation of Zuni Culture – like this magnificent bracelet.
Richly dark blue, natural lapis is hand-cut and set.
Opulently thick, the stones are raised above the silver that secures them, and gently rounded, to conform to the shape of the cuff.
Sparkling silver channels are a brilliant counterpoint to the depth of the lapis.
Polished, natural, vivid red coral is cut into thick, rounded “logs”, in vibrant contrast.
Red is symbolically the color of the earth, while blue represents the sky and water.
Here, lapis sits in for the more traditional blue turquoise, to dramatic and splendid effect.
Notice how the coral is matched in size and shape, but set vertically on one side, and horizontally, on the other: balance, without strict symmetry; a touch of artistry.
Fabulous stones, brilliantly arranged, with flawless workmanship.
The art of Roger Tsabetsaye needs no embellishment to be spectacular, in an elegantly modern, minimalist way.