A Choctaw, who has lived, and worked in California for many years, George Willis creates jewelry that is very different in technique and inspiration from those of other Native artists. His original designs and technical expertise have been recognized throughout the nation, and abroad. This pendant is a fascinating example of his distinctive work, incorporating a figure into an exceptionally unusual stone.
Rosasite is an “uncommon mineral that forms in the secondary oxidized zone of copper-zinc deposits that have formed by zinc solutions reacting with copper minerals.” This rare mineral is named after a mine in Sardinia, where it was first identified. It is found in very few places and very few quantities, elsewhere.
This ruggedly handsome pendant is streaked with teal-colored rosasite, against dark surrounding rock that is a warm, polished brown on the left and upper right, while the interior is left natural and rough. There is a cleft in the center so a little bit of whatever color you are wearing will show through. Organically shaped silver glitters at the edge, with a gleaming silver bail, decorated with an asymmetrical pattern of tiny silver “pebbles”. A minuscule figure of a miner is seen at the right. The 14-karat gold figure stands our against the dark, matte surface of the rugged stone. Amazingly detailed with short sleeves, a stetson hat and boots, this tiny figure holds a chunk of polished teal rosasite. He is the fortunate prospector who struck it rich with this rare mineral. All this is more than enough to create a fascinating pendant, right in step with fashion’s embrace of refined bohemian style, but… there is much more to this incredible piece.
Flip the pendant over – the bail swivels beautifully – and there is an entirely different pendant! This side is all silver; darkened, textured and polished, with applied pebbly dots and organic shapes that mimic the rough, vertical rock wall of a mine. Another teeny, tiny gold figure is in the center. This prospector is climbing up the rock face, with a wee pickax in hand, hacking away in search of a vein of rosasite. He holds on to the edge of the center fissure, with his left hand; each leg is braced on a tiny silver ledge.
This is a pendant that you can wear every day, with one side or another enhancing every event and outfit. The creative imagination and technical expertise it demonstrates is phenomenal.
This is a truly exceptional piece by this most exceptional jeweler. Some day, his work will be in museums and this is sure to be included.