About the Piece
Carved jet black skeleton wearing a cowboy's shoes and hat crouching on a sphere of solid quartz with pyrite with its hands over its mouth. A sterling silver cross has been set on its front with bezel set pink ruby stones and on the side as if it were a bomb, a bullet casing with a silver wick that appears to be unravelling. All sitting on a pedestal of polished hard wood, this piece measures 7" tall & 3" wide.
Known as "jet", the rich black material used to create this sculpture is a rare form of fossilized wood which formed millions of years ago under extreme pressure during decomposition. It has been favored as a gemstone by jewelry carvers since the Neolithic period, though is most famously known for its use in mourning jewelry during the Victorian age. With a hardness of 2.5-4 on the Mohs scale, specimens like this are considered gemstone quality and are priced as such. Because of its expense and scarcity, rarely do you see pieces of jet this large utilized in sculpture.
About the Artist
After starting out as a silversmith in Arizona and immersing himself in the turquoise trade over 30 years ago, Lee Downey is still just as passionate about gems, minerals and all things geology related today. From his studio in Bali, Lee and a family of highly skilled craftspeople create one-of-a-kind art pieces from natural and reclaimed materials with unwavering attention to detail.