Above: Jeweler Gregory Segura is largely a self-taught silversmith. Photograph courtesy of Gregory Segura.

GROWING UP IN SANTA FE, Gregory Segura wanted to be a businessman, decked out in a suit. He took a metalworking class in high school, but only because he needed an art class to graduate. Although precious metals would later mold his life, Segura got to wear a jacket and tie as a hotel manager and as a financial planner. In 2008, the economic crisis drove Segura to change threads. “I realized my calling was to do the jewelry,” he says. “It’s where I’m happiest and thrive.”

The power of love: Something deeper than the financial crash guided Segura’s career change. When his mother would see him dressed up for work, she would say, “You need to be working with your hands.” “After she died, it became important that I honor her,” he says. “It’s because of her belief in me that I made the switch.”

Market rates: Although a largely self-taught silversmith, Segura received the E. Boyd Memorial Award for Originality and Expressive Design at his first Traditional Spanish Market in Santa Fe, in 2010. “I don’t draw the designs out. I just start working with the silver, and it takes me where it takes me.”

Mountain majesty: Segura’s Spanish and Native American heritage influences his designs, which are inspired by the beauty of New Mexico’s unique landscapes, from the Organ Mountains, outside Las Cruces, to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, on Cochiti Pueblo. “It’s the way I like to build my silverwork, with these peaks and valleys. That’s where I think my three-dimensional ideas come from.”

Vote of confidence: His New Mexico Zia collection includes a turquoise lapel pin bearing the state symbol and is often worn by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and other New Mexico politicos. “I’m really proud of those,” Segura says. “If you see a politician with a Zia symbol on, it’s probably mine.”