Gibson Nez Collection
Deceased GIBSON NEZ, Jicarilla Apache/Navajo
Gibson Nez passed away in 2007 and had been an active silversmith since 1976. He was known throughout the Indian arts industry and by collectors worldwide as the master of stamp work. Parallel lines, a hairs-breadth apart, encircle bolos and bracelets, drawing your eye to the extraordinary, gem-grade stone Gibson handpicked to feature in the center. Stamp work of Gibson’s caliber requires pain-staking patience and an eye for balance.
“What is important to me is to make one nice piece, not a lot of mediocre pieces.” Famous inlay artist Jesse Monongye and silver and goldsmith Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell influenced Gibson. “These artists approach their art with a positive attitude and a smart business sense.” Gibson himself has 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 have 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. He won every major Native American Jewelry award including the Smithsonian Medal of Honor. His career spanned 3 decades, winning over 500 major awards and ribbons. Robert Redford, George Clooney, Willie Nelson, Joan Lunden, Elizabeth Taylor and Goldie Hawn were among his collectors.
When asked what made him most proud in his work, Gibson said, “I simply try to make a piece that highlights the stone.”
He was a champion bull rider. He was inducted into the Indian Cowboy Hall of Fame for Saddle Bronc Riding in 1976 and later went on to be a rodeo clown. Anyone who knew him understood one thing about Gibson. Whatever he did, he did it to its fullest.