Leo Poblano was one of the great innovators of Zuni jewelers, recreating traditions for the modern era.
His daughter and grandson, celebrated prize-winners in their own right, have collaborated on this delightful ring.
It shows how the patriarch’s influence has evolved; from modern, to absolutely contemporary.
Sterling silver, and a white and black palette of hand cut and inlaid stones, sound fairly conventional. Nevertheless, this ring is anything but!
Traditional silver is retained, but the black is not jet, but black marble. The white is not mother of pearl or clamshell, but pure white magnesite – a stone that belongs to the calcite group of minerals.
The inlay is an abstract, color block design, and the silver is definitely one-of-a-kind. So, this is clearly not your usual Zuni ring.
Veronica’s and Dylan’s work has each been included in national museum shows and collections.
They share a love of the different, the surprising, the chic, the witty, and the fashionable. They also adhere to strict standards of fine materials and impeccable workmanship.
Put all that together, and you see this playful, whimsical, and brilliant ring.
From the signatures, it seems that Veronica is responsible for the elegant, smooth face of the ring.
Dylan has signed the hefty silver shank, textured with tiny punctured dots and etched dragonfly-like crosses, and maybe some of the other silver work is also his.
The chiseled serpentine loops that wave above the geometric black and white inlay, are charmingly…loopy. Below, the smooth and dramatic inlay is framed by a half-circle of silver, twisted like a rope.
The tall loops could be interpreted as a stepped tablita (headdress); the texture of the twisted silver underneath the inlaid face could suggest the bristly ruffs worn by some kachinas.
The arrangement of the inlaid stones might even hint at a Sunface, divided into horizontal and vertical areas.
Strictly amusing and strikingly appealing? Or is the design a brilliantly clever deconstruction of a traditional kachina design?
However you see this meticulously hand fabricated ring, it is fabulous.
Textural contrasts, glistening silver against opaque stones, starkly dramatic black and white, and a masterfully proportioned design create a unique and totally wonderful work of art.
You can, and will, wear it often, to loud praise and admiration.