Born in 1972, Chris Nieto returned to jewelry making in 2003 after serving in the military. Having graduated from the Indian School in Santa Fe in 1990, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and took part in Desert Storm that same year. After his tour in Iraq in 1990, he enrolled in the military culinary school at Fort Jackson in South Carolina. When his three years of service was over, he returned to Santo Domingo and worked as a chef at area tribal casinos for nearly 9 years.
His wife Luwanna Tenorio has recently started working with him full-time. They have four children together.
Chris specializes in inlay work with a majority on spiny oyster shell or deer antler. Most artists simply inlay on top of the shell, but his spiny oyster shells are unique in that he inlays into the shell so that the piece is completely smooth. This takes much more work and skill.