Gilbert "Dino" Garcia is one of only a handful of working silversmiths at Santo Domingo Pueblo. He works with both silver and gold and specializes in casting his pieces in hand-carved tufa stone molds. Dino's pieces, however, are different from those of most sandcast artists. Dino uses a soft tufa (learn more about Tufa) which he digs at a location in Arizona shown to him by his grandfather. This soft tufa allows Dino to carve particularly detailed designs in the stone, but the very softness of the stone means that each mold is only good for casting one piece. Dino's two-piece molds are carved on each side so that his pieces show carved designs on both sides; on the outside and inside, or front and back. Each of his pieces is truly a one-of-a-kind work because the mold itself does not survive the casting process intact.
After carving his mold and prior to pouring molten Sterling into it, Dino blackens the inside of the mold by using his acetylene torch. Normally, an acetylene torch is used with a combination flow of acetylene and oxygen. The oxygen makes the flame burn hotter, but also aids in burning off the carbon. Dino lights his torch with only the acetylene flow turned on and, in the absence of oxyen to burn off the carbon, the inside of the mold is blackened. Then he pours his molten silver into the mold and the carbon fuses with the silver surface and creates a nice contrast in the deep-carved parts of the mold. After cleaning up the cast bracelet and buffing it, the raised motifs are shiny and the nooks and crannies are blackened.
Note on sizing: These bracelets, though sturdy, are relatively malleable and can be easily adjusted for size. But do be certain that if you must adjust the size, you will still have adequate gap to slip it on easily and a small enough gap that the bracelet won't be trying to slip off your wrist. In short, normal relationships of "terminal to terminal" measurement to "gap size" still apply, but a one-eighth inch adjustment to size is easy to achieve.
Dino's hallmark appears as the cast word "Dino" on the inside of the bracelet.
Width of cuff: 3/4"
Terminal to terminal: 5 1/8"
Total inside circumference (including gap): 6"