Inlaid Snowy Owls Bolo

Quintin Quam


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Zuni Pueblo is known for its meticulous lapidary work; they have long been famous for fine stone-cutting and beautiful inlay.

Quintin Quam, of the famous family of fetish carvers, is a contemporary master of this meticulous, painstaking, and difficult work.

His intricately inlaid birds and flora are amazingly detailed and thoroughly beautiful, as seen in this remarkable bolo.

Minutely detailed, a pair of snowy owls are fastidiously inlaid in this bolo.

Owls are welcomed by the Zuni as night watchmen; protectors of the village, since they hoot when they perceive danger.

Here, the male, stands regally on alert on a brown shell  “wooden stump.”  Inlaid with white mother of pearl, he glistens, as if in moonlight.

Tiny accents of inlaid jet mimic the owl’s markings, and his chest and wings are textured, as well.

Behind him, his mate (or a vision of him flying) soars through the air, also icily white, with black markings, against the gleaming silver.

The birds are framed by a colorful circle of inlaid triangles in turquoise, red and pink coral, and deep blue lapis.

At the very edge of the convex silver circle, a dainty row of hand stamped scallops completes the design.

This masterful jeweler has not ignored the tips: long and tapered silver is circled with rows of tiny stamped scallop designs, ending in a handmade silver bead.

Dangling from the bead, is a smaller version of the bolo, complete with turquoise, red, and pink coral triangles, and stamped scallops.

A small snowy owl, with inlaid jet markings, sits on a wooden stump; a yellow mother of pearl full moon, shines in the sky above.

This is a bolo of extraordinary skill, with an iconic subject expressed in an beautiful design. Even the leather cord is of uncommon quality, braided by hand.

Heads will turn –  but not all the way around, like an owl – wherever you wear this exceptional piece.

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