Purple and Turquoise Bolo

Tony Chino


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An artist named Chino, from Acoma Pueblo – and he is a Master jeweler, not a potter!

Noted for his extravagantly complex and heavy-gauge silver work, as well as fantastic stones, this jeweler is a wonderful anomaly.

This fabulous bolo is stunningly typical: intricate silver surrounds two magnificent stones, to form a dazzling bolo.

First, you notice the amazing size of the natural turquoise, then its beautiful color and matrix; blue like water and sky, and warm brown like land.

Sitting above it, like the head of a stately figure, is an equally gorgeous piece of natural spiny oyster shell.

This stone has the expected royal purple hue at the bottom, and a beautifully different, varied purple top half, that resembles rainfall on a landscape

The silver supporting these two superb stones is, in a word, superb.

No jeweler would dare cut up such a glorious piece of turquoise, so sometimes, more is more!

There are three or four levels of borders around each stone, plus additional embellishments outside the edges, and every bit is incredibly precise and lovely.

Overlay, repousse, fluting, shadowboxes, and chiseling are all techniques that the artist has combined in this resplendent bolo.

Even the tips. mostly demurely plain cylinders, are ornamented with stye and creativity.

Their tops are crenelated, like the battlements of a castle  (which certainly accords with the imperial magnificence of the bolo itself).

However, this is a Native piece of jewelry, so the stepped design refers to blessed rain.

These tops are cinched with a band of delicate silver work that resembles an embroidered sash.

And, that’s not all: the very bottom of the tips, usually left perfectly plain, have an unexpected, elegant, alligator-like design.

Obviously, this artist is no minimalist, and the bolo is meant for someone who shares his baroque tastes.

Splendorous, ornate, elaborate, and, yes, flamboyant, this bolo is a masterpiece of silversmithing technique, and outstanding stones.

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