Marian Nez - Navajo
Marian Nez (‘Alch’I’haa baa’); a Navajo originally from Tohajiilee, New Mexico.
The love of being a silversmith started long before I knew to design jewelry. I had watched my parents work on their jewelry and decided to solder some pieces for them when they made a trip to town. Little did I know that this was to be the beginning of my love of jewelry making. I will always give thanks and forever be grateful to my parents for introducing me to the craft and handing down this amazing skill to me.
Starting in the late 1970’s I worked in various jewelry shops throughout Albuquerque, New Mexico, doing mass production work and designing individual pieces. During my work with Zachary Jewelry Company, they promoted my creativity and entered some individual pieces of my jewelry in art shows. My designs were awarded first and second place ribbons. In addition, a photo of me working on my jewelry was published in the book, “Allure of Turquoise Book” written by Joe Dan Lowry.
In the early 2000’s my husband Leonard Nez (whom I taught the craft to) and I started our own jewelry business. After my father passed from complications of diabetes, I decided to explore the health field to understand and educate myself about diabetes and to help others. I enrolled in Community Colleges where I accomplished my goal of becoming a Certified Community Health Worker, specializing in diabetes prevention among Native people. My passion for my jewelry still lingered so I worked part-time on my jewelry. I did not want to lose the unique craftsmanship and design work I so loved.
The designs that I now create represent a tribute to my parents, who I am, and where I come from. Each piece that is created comes from the humble heart and positive thoughts. I want the person wearing my jewelry to know and feel the love that’s behind my work.