Ronnie Calabaza Zuni bolo/pendant

I acquired this recently and have managed to find out a fair amount. Most of my collection is Navajo with a little Hopiand Santo Domingo so this is new territory. It is a bolo but also has a pendant hook. The size is 3 1/2” by 2 1/2”. From my research it seems that the figure is a Shalako and I have read that he is Gods messenger and also that he brings rain when needed.
There appear to be two pieces of inlay missing. One the toe of one foot and the other a hand(?) at the end of the arm. I am interested in knowing if it would be expensive to have this repaired; what the value of the bolo is and if anyone can tell me if I’m on the right track with identifying the figure and his meaning. Thanks for all the help!

I love this type of inlay! Tough to wear but lovely to handle! Depending on the maker, and if it was complete I would start at no less than $300 for value. Have you identified the maker? If you can do that it would be the first step to getting it repaired. If the maker is still active I would make every attempt at getting in contact with them for repairs. If that doesn’t work out I would try to find a person who is actively doing this kind of work and seek repairs from them. This is not something I would trust to a normal jeweler or silversmith. Love to see it repaired if you are able to.

You nailed it as far as the Kachina is concerned.


Whoops! Missed the artists name in the title. Looks like this would be post 1986 production as that is when he began using RC. Perhaps Jason can assist with locating him. You might even find a relative doing similar work that could do the repairs.

1 Like

Thanks for all the info. You are definitely right about the inlay. It looks so fragile that I can’t imagine wearing it many places. It looks really good just hanging where I can look at it. Also, thanks for confirming what I researched about the Kachina. Love that he is a messenger from God and also that he brings rain. My livelihood depends on farming so weather is paramount. Thanks again.

We can have that fixed for you if you want. It would not be by the original artist. It is usually around $10 a stone. I forget how many shalakos are in the ceremony. Each year a handful of families are chosen to host the ceremony in their homes, so they start building a new house. This is a winter ceremony that usually takes place in the beginning of December, but not always the same date. It is this end of the year celebration and asking for a blessing. People from all over make the journey to the Zuni Pueblo to witness Shalako. The bolo I have attached a picture of is by Beverly Etsate, this over 5" and retails $1200.

1 Like

I was hoping you would say that you could have it fixed. There certainly isn’t anyone locally. I guess I can go to PN and get all of the info and address etc.
What type of value would you think after the repairs are done vs the value as is?
It’s too cool not to fix but it might have to wait a couple of weeks. Thanks for all of the info!

Our address is

Perry Null Trading Company
1710 S 2nd St.
Gallup, New Mexico 87301

If you will put it to Tony or Jason A’s attention. The value is always going to be a little more once it is fixed. I found this one online

1 Like