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Ned Nez
NAVAJO SILVERSMITH

NED NEZ creates the jewelry which so many associate with the "Navajo style": heavy silver pieces built around one extraordinary stone of gem-grade turquoise. His creations hark back to the Navajo when they were Lords of the Land--substantial pieces with strong, defined lines. In all his work, Ned uses heavy-gauge silver, sometimes adding traditional stamps to the sides of bracelets, but, more often, letting the clean design speak for itself.

His philosophy is as straight-forward as his jewelry. "My culture is who I am," Ned says. "The art, culture, language, and traditional ceremonies of the Dine culture and teaching are my foundation."

This simple statement does not reveal the whole man, for Ned is not only a master craftsman but also a dedicated worker for the Navajo Nation. He is currently a special assistant to the Navajo President, Alan Hale. Ned works on his jewelry as he can between his duties to the Tribe. Ned was born on the Reservation and still lives there, though he is, by no means, a man of only one perspective. He has traveled, on behalf of the Tribe, to Europe and Washington, D.C.

His jewelry creations have journeyed even farther, sought by collectors world-wide. His pieces have won awards at the Window Rock Fair, the Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial, Santa Fe Indian Market, the Denver Market, and Eight Northern.

Ned's heart-felt convictions about the strength of the Navajo culture and its people is reflected in every one of his hand-wrought pieces. If asked what he is most proud of in his work, Ned says simply, "My traditional Dine work."