This most unique of jewelry artists lives in the Monument Valley area of the Navajo lands, and helps his mother herd her sheep, when not helping film crews in the area.
Roland’s name is a synonym for incredibly exacting workmanship and imaginative style.
This remarkable necklace is one of his more traditional pieces, although it far exceeds the usual criteria in both design and execution – as usual, for this amazing artist.
Four squares and a central octagon hang from a necklace of silver beads. Sounds ordinary, right? Not for this visionary artist.
Let’s start with the beads, a combination of three forms: flattened rounds, long cylinders and a flat, scalloped piece that supports the pendants.
What really distinguishes these beads from others are the punched dots that decorates each and every bead.
Each cylinder, graduated in size, from smallest at the ends to largest in the center, has a different, proportional design of punched out dots.
The scalloped “cog” or floral forms also sport a circle of tiny dots, although they are not visible from the front.
And so do the flattened round beads – dots circle each one, on both sides. These beads are also graduated in size, from the ends toward the center.
Double flattened beads sandwich a scalloped piece that suspends an overlaid square; two on each side of the large center pendant.
These squares are ever so slightly curved, so that they gleam softly, even though brushed in the finish.
Each square has a similar, triangular pattern cut out of the top layer of silver, with the darkened, matte base showing through. Look closely: the triangles face in different directions.
On one side of the center pendant, the triangle patterns face away from each other; on the other side, they point toward each other. A small detail that adds energy to the all-over design.
The same triangular pattern decorates the large pendant, in the center, but in a series of eight separate sections, emphasizing the form of the piece.
At each corner of the octagon, the triangles point toward the center; otherwise, they face away from the section on the opposite side. Again, more animation in the rhythm of the design.
Centered in the center pendant is a darkened square, where a textured gold hand appears. This is the ancient symbol of blessing and protection.
It is welcome for esthetic, as well as spiritual, reasons, breaking up the wealth of triangular patterns with its curved forms and larger scale.
All these minutely considered and worked-out features combine in a striking, extraordinary necklace.
But wait – there’s more! Turn over the necklace, and you have another, different one – two remarkable necklaces in one!
Here, on the reverse, each square boasts a different petroglyph design, applied over the plain brushed surface.
Each one is also decorated with a pattern of Roland’s signature dots, but in a simpler way.
On the far left, two hands of blessing and protection are framed by a wavy line of dots, above and below. They refer to the blessing of water in the high desert.
Next in, a human figure stands, overlaid within itself, then applied to the square.
Here, the dots form two crosses, signifying that people are spread to the four corners of the earth.
On the far right, a figure is shown, seemingly racing toward the center. Dots form abstract cornstalks, so maybe this is a dancer, praying for a good harvest, good health, happiness and prosperity.
Next in, the dots form a spiral that looks like the sun, and the symbol for water, at the same time. Sun and water, in balance, ends in happy crops, and lots of good things.
The applied crosses again mean that this great blessing should extend over the whole earth.
In the center, the zig-zag dots, above and below, symbolize both water and mountains, surrounding a group of applied ancient symbols of abundance, happiness and protection.
Bear paws bring the hunting savvy, strength, and protection of the bear to the human figure to the right.
The animal figure – a deer, or mountain goat? – represents the happy abundance of meat on the table.
The reclining “flute-player” represents the seed-sower, blowing seeds that develop into crops; more abundance and happiness.
All the symbols are found in ancient rock art, and are good-luck symbols. The great talent of Roland Brady turned each one into a beautiful design.
This necklace is a rare example of ultra-refined and meticulous workmanship, and artistic vision that is unique.
Creative, arresting, fascinating design and astounding, precise execution, in satin finished silver, result in a piece like no other.
Modern or ancient, each side of the necklace inspires awe for its perfection. (Even the hook and eye are exceptional, and handmade.)
This artist is one-of-a-kind, and his work is, also.