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Gibson Nez
JICARILLA APACHE/NAVAJO SILVERSMITH
May 16, 1947 – November 28, 2007

One of the best silversmiths and arrguably the best at stampwork, Gibson Nez was one of a kind. He was known throughout the Indian arts industry and by collectors worldwide as the master of stampwork. No other craftsman ever has come close to the expert precision of his sharp, clean, impossibly close stamps. Parallel lines, a hairs-breadth apart, encircle bolos and bracelets like radiants of energy, drawing your eye to the extraordinary, gem-grade stone Gibson handpicked to feature in the center.

Stampwork of Gibson's calibre requires pain-staking patience and an eye for balance. Gib said, "What is important to me is to make one nice piece, not a lot of mediocre pieces."

These qualities of patience and balance served Gibson well in his earlier career--thirty years as a bronco rider and clown in rodeos. During this time, he gained national recognition for his leatherwork on chaps and hand-stamped belts. Famous inlay artist Jesse Monongye and silver and goldsmith Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell also influenced Gibson. "These artists approach their art with a positive attitude and a smart business sense."

Gibson himself played a part in helping other artists. In numerous books and articles on Navajo craftsmen, Gibson has been credited by other artists for providing invaluable creative influence. Over 35 books also feature articles on Gibson and his unmatched style.

His pieces won ribbons and awards at all the major competitions including Gallup Ceremonial, Santa Fe Indian Market, the Heard Museum, the All Mankind Jewelry Competition in Washington, D.C, and Casa Grande in Arizona.

Asked what made him most proud in his work, Gibson said, "I simply try to make a piece that highlights the stone." We feel so honored and grateful to have known Gib, to have had him in our lives, to have been allowed to represent his awesome and unparalleled talent, and to call him friend.