Fine chisel, stamp work and deeply grooved silver overlay are the hallmarks of Leonard Nez’s silver jewelry whose work is featured in the Smithsonian Institute. By combining the elements of the traditional with the contemporary in detailed scrollwork and classic feather styling, Nez’s work is distinct and recognizable.
Born in Keams Canon, Arizona, Nez met his wife Marian through his sister. It was Marian, a silversmith in her own right, who first taught Nez jewelry-making. In 1977, he made his first pieces and by 1993 he began showing his work. He is consistently the recipient of awards and his work can be found in private collections, which include a silver bowl at the Smithsonian. An avid horseman and highly skilled team roper, he divides his time between his silverwork and the rodeo circuit,
He attributes his inspiration to God and says that sometimes design ideas come to him while he is in church. “I want each piece to be better than the last.
I do my own designs, the ones that speak to me.”