Mary Tom, an award-winning jeweler, creates unusual pieces with the flair for design and meticulous workmanship she is known for. In this latest acquisition, an exceptionally handsome and creative rendering of a Sunface makes this bolo stand out.
A nicely solid circle of polished silver has a rolled edge, bordering the heavily textured and slightly convex circle of the Sunface itself. Set in a darkened shadowbox, the face is edged with a zigzag frame of polished wire – an imaginative and effective depiction of the sun’s rays. Two raised bars of polished silver streak across the face, separating the areas for eyes and the lower half of the face. These also carry the gleaming surfaces into the center of the bolo for a balanced composition.
The rectangular eyes are natural, royal purple spiny oyster shell, and the oval mouth is a vibrant, natural red coral. These features are raised above the textured surface, and the complementary colors each bring out the other. A band of vertically curved forms marches across the face, just under the polished line. These resemble rainfall, which creates an ideal natural balance, together with sunlight. Tapered and textured silver carries the glittering texture to the very ends of the tips.
The texture on this rich-looking piece is also extraordinary. It is reticulation, a very tricky technique that results in ridges and ripples, produced by carefully controlled heating with a hand-held blowtorch. Unusual techniques and materials, as well as uncommon skill and design sense, have created a bolo that is impressive in every way.