Ketoh Bolo with Kingman Turquoise
From heavy equipment operator to manipulator of fine tools in delicate designs seems a stretch, but with mentoring from the late, great Gibson Nez (no relation), he quickly found the way.
Leonard’s award-winning jewelry is featured in the Smithsonian Institution. It is characterized by excellent chiseling, stamp work, and deeply grooved overlay.
This splendid bolo displays his skill, design sense, respect for tradition, and a very fine stone.
A rounded oblong of natural, water web Kingman turquoise punctuates some extraordinary silver work.
The turquoise looks as if drops of water had fallen, on the lower half, which gives it the name of water web.
It is a lovely, true turquoise blue, like the sky and water the stone symbolizes. it is set high, displaying its considerable thickness.
Held by a plain silver bezel, it is also framed by a meticulously chiseled border. These are set into the overlaid silver that surrounds the stone.
Shaped in an oblong oval, echoing the stone, the overlaid area has stepped rain signs on both sides, and a fan of abstract feathers at top and bottom.
Feathers represent prayers sent up to the heavens, usually for rain, most precious resource.
This oblong area is superimposed on the flat silver base, which is shaped around it, and flows into a traditional ketoh (bow guard) design, below.
Here, again, there are long, rounded elements, crisply chiseled and cut out. These are longer and more vertical, however, so may be dual symbols: for stylized feathers, and for rainfall.
The center element here is textured, and lightly darkened, as are the bits at each end. This really conveys the image of rain, and adds a nice touch of matte texture to the gleaming polish of the other silver.
Symmetrical “cricket legs” at either side of the bottom design, bring the graceful curve of the stone and the top area down to complete the design.
The remarkably regular chiseled lines, above and below the stone, are repeated in a larger scale in the rainfall symbols at the very bottom.
Expertly balanced design, exemplary silver work, and a special stone, make up a beautifully timeless piece of the highest quality, in every way.
The hand-braided leather cord is in proportion to the bolo, and just as well made.