Dan Simplicio learned jewelry making from his uncle, Juan Dedios, and worked at C.G. Wallace’s trading post at Zuni, collaborating with master stonecutters such as Leekya Deyuse, Teddy Weahkee, and Leo Poblano. Simplicio was the first to use red branch coral in its natural form, and probably the first jewelry maker at Zuni to use gold. He introduced undulating leaf motifs into Zuni art, possibly inspired by European art and design he saw during his service in World War II. He is known for combining natural branch coral and turquoise with innovative designs that frequently included elaborate leaf work.