Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Jeanette Dale: Onyx Ring

Artist's Biography: Jeanette Dale

Jeanette Dale is a contemporary Navajo silversmith working with a traditional style all her own. Jeanette's pieces are recognizable for their distinctive combination of silverwork and beautiful natural stones. She learned the art form from her mother and has been making jewelry since 1973.

In 1973, Jeanette Dale was working at Fairchild Electronics in their Shiprock, New Mexico plant, cutting out computer chips with a diamond saw. She was the fastest cutter at the plant with the best quality record, producing nearly four times the number of chips of her fellow workers. When the plant shut down that year, she lost her job and didn't know what to do. 

Her mother, Juanita Begay, had been a well-known silversmith for years, and she offered to teach Jeanette the craft. Jeanette found that the precision she had shown cutting computer chips helped to make her work stand out. 

"It just came naturally to me," says Dale. "Soldering was just like I was born to to it. I showed my first ring to a dealer and he hired me to make jewelry for him." She also fell in love with beautiful stones. 

"I like to work around the shape of the stone to bring out it's natural beauty. With unique one of a kind stones you can make unique one of a kind jewelry." Dale prefers the traditional Navajo style with heavy, deep stamping and high polishes. 

She also follows her first employer's advise on one other matter. "He used to tell me to leave some mark, a saw mark or something to show that the jewelry was handmade. So I always leave something."

About Onyx:

Onyx is said to drive away unwanted thoughts and bad temper. In folklore, Onyx is considered a stabilizing stone, especially during times of extreme stress because it prevents loss of energy from the body. It is used for initiating the modes of centering and alignment of the total person with the higher power. Onyx can be used to banish grief, to enhance self-control, to stimulate the power of wise decision-making, and to encourage happiness and good fortune. It is said to be grounding and can be used to deflect or absorb the negativity of others.

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