River Bolo with Turquoise

Mary Tom


SKU: 12666 Categories: , Tags: ,


A veteran award-winner, she creates unusual pieces with a flair for design and meticulous workmanship.

Her pieces, like this bolo, exemplify her artistic imagination and her technical mastery.

The heavy-gauge silver is tufa cast. Tufa is a naturally compressed sandy material, volcanic in origin.

To make a tufa mold to cast silver, the crumbly, semi-hard material is sawn horizontally in half, and the desired design is carved – very carefully – into the bottom half.

Then, molten silver is poured into the mold, a bit like making a waffle, and the excess poured off, while the silver cools and hardens.

Finally, the rough piece is pried from the tufa – which may be used once more, or not – since it crumbles so – and the artist has to file, chisel, and refine the piece.

The grainy texture of the compressed volcanic sand is incorporated as part of the appeal – and the theme – of this piece.

Highly polished bands of applied silver, slither down the sandy texture of the tufa cast face, which is chiseled into horizontal, parallel lines, that represent rainfall.

The glistening texture of the horizontal lines evoke rainwater soaked earth; the gleaming lines on top represent flowing water.

On the arid high desert, where the Navajo live, water is the most precious resource.

Therefore, the theme is of water, bringing good luck, good health, happiness, and all good things.

Beautifully interrupting the straight lines of the bolo, is a noteworthy, natural, spiderweb turquoise.

The splendid, high-domed, sky-blue stone, with a lacy web of earthy brown matrix, is sturdily contained by a bezel with vertically chiseled lines.

With just a few elements, the artist has composed a remarkably pleasing design of horizontal, vertical, and gently rounded forms, with an understated pop of color.

Not only visually handsome, but the design also relates the story of how water is a blessing from the heavens – which are represented by the heavenly blue of the turquoise – to the earth.

The tips are finished with tufa cast arrowheads, symbols that direct the blessing of water, in every form, down to the people on earth.

Matching the bolo in quality, the hand-braided leather cord is substantial, and flat around the neck, for comfort.

The tips may be removed, and the cord cut to the desired length, if necessary.

Impeccable workmanship, a gorgeous, natural stone, and a beautiful, but tastefully restrained design that symbolizes good luck, all combine to create an extraordinary bolo.

It is powerful in its theme and commanding in its understated, but distinguished, design.

This is a bolo that can serenely go to work, and even to black-tie evenings, as well as worn casually.

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