Contemporary Ring by Leo Yazzie, Navajo Sterling silver, high grade Lapis stone
size 7 1/2, 1 1/8” long
Leo Yazzie has been designing and creating fine jewelry for more than 30 years. Born and raised at Black Mesa on the Navajo Reservation in northeastern Arizona, the influence of the land and his culture is a part of each piece of his contemporary and sophisticated jewelry.
Leo uses both gold and silver to create jewelry with a unique combination of traditional and contemporary designs. “The inspiration for many of my designs came from watching my grandmother, mother and other women in the family weaving rugs. They told me their designs came from Spider. Now, I make designs inspired by the patterns they wove.”
“I enjoy what I do and I like to take my time with each piece,” says Leo. He usually works on several pieces at a time, working with one and then setting it aside to work on another, or taking one of his long walks. “I usually work for three hours each morning and then leave the pieces alone,” says Leo. His long walks are important; they reconnect him with the land and life surrounding him.
The care and time that Leo takes fabricating each of his pieces has resulted in his winning enough awards and ribbons to fill two large boxes. Today, Leo has stopped entering contests. “I wanted to make room for the younger artists,” says Leo. He may have stopped competing, but he has not stopped creating. This quiet man and gifted artist continues to innovate and dazzle us with his eye for color and attention to detail.