Lee Downey Turquoise Heart
Cut by hand from a piece of sterling silver, this buckle incorporates several materials and techniques to beautiful effect. First, the rectangle is given beveled edges that are polished for a high shine. The corners are beveled as well, leaving room for four, square-cut rubies. Then the face is antiqued and overlain with swooping curls of hand-cut filigree decorated with four pieces of green turquoise. In the center is a large, heart made of dark-green turquoise edged by a band of fourteen-karat gold. Inside that heart is another one made of a lighter green turquoise, and inside that is another ruby. The different heights of this buckle make it seem as if the center design is floating. Fits all 1.5-inch belt straps.
Born in California, Lee Downey first started working as a silversmith in Arizona. Since much of jewelry trade in the Southwest involves turquoise, Downey quickly developed a passion for rocks. After years of traveling in Asia he settled down to a collaborative craftsmen's studio in Bali. There he uses the multiple influences of form, geology and geography he gleaned from years on the road to create pieces of jewelry unlike any other.