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Cow: NATIVE AMERICAN INDIAN JEWELRY

Native American jewelry is in a category by itself. It is something people either like or dislike. It can also vary by materials and tribes. The Navajo, Zuni, and Hopi people usually work with silver, turquoise, and other stones. The Pacific Northwest Indians do beautiful etched silver pieces and scrimshaw pieces. Some of the other tribes do exquisite beadwork and quillwork. This is not to say that other tribes do not do this work, also.

Before the Southwest decorating era became popular, most jewelry was not signed. In fact, it was not made for resale. Artistic tribe members would make pieces for themselves and family. However, times got hard and they found that they could pawn their jewelry at the nearest trading post for food staples for themselves and their animals. Many of these items were never redeemed and the tourists discovered them. Once the Indians found out that they could make more money from the tourists, they started signing their pieces. Also, the United States government stepped in, when commercial manufacturers started making imitations, and passed a law to stop these companies from capitalizing on Native American Indian products.

It is very hard to date this type of jewelry. Usually, if it is signed, it was made after 1960. Navajo jewelry is usually chunkier, larger stones. Often Zuni jewelry is inlaid and they also took pride in matching stones in a piece. The Hopi are famous for silver overlay. However, none of this is cut in stone! There are a lot of marriages that have taken place between these tribes. Therefore, it is not unusual to see something that is common in one tribe being made by someone of a different tribe. The Zuni like to sign their jewelry with an engraving pencil. That is very easy for an unscrupulous person to copy. There have also been unscrupulous tribe members. The initials LMB are ones to beware of today. In genuine handmade jewelry, the silver is usually heavier. Today's copies are lightweight.

Today, there is a trend towards more contemporary jewelry. Precious, semi-precious, and lab created stones are often used, as is 14k gold. Traditional designs are now being combined with modern designs. For those who have never liked Native American Indian jewelry, you might want to look again. Begay and Yazzie are a couple of good search names.

Contributed by Nancy Cox

***Native American Hallmarks***

Date(s): March 21, 2008. Album by Jewelry Ring. 1 - 114 of 114 Total. 10021 Visits.
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Older Navajo Turquoise, Coral, & Oyster Cuff Bracelet

Compliments of Cheri Van Hoover

Milky Way Jewels

Please read Cheri Van Hoover's article about  Northwest Coast Indian
jewelry she did for our JR "Focus on Design" series
Pacific Northwest Coast Indian Jewelry


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Fred Harvey Era Zuni Turquoise & Sterling Bracelet

Courtesy of Cheri Van Hoover

Cheri Says:
"Yes, they were souvenir pieces. Fred Harvey was the concessionaire
with the hotels/restaurants/ gift shops along the railroad lines
through the Southwest. He sold sheet silver to the local Native
Americans for their use in this characteristic tourist jewelry and
marketed the items they produced in his shops. He was considered a
pioneer in "cultural tourism." Jewelry considered "Fred Harvey Era"
was mostly produced from the 1930s through the 1950s.

Here's the Wikipedia article about him and his empire:
Fred Harvey


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Wayne & Josie Panteah Zuni Sterling Man's Ring Marked W.J. PANTEAH

Courtesy of Cheri Van Hoover

Cheri says:
"Turquoise is a very soft stone, so it is frequently treated in one way
or another to preserve its color and/or prevent it from cracking or
crumbling. It comes in a variety of grades. This article talks about
the various grades and explains why it is treated:
Turquoise Article
and this one explains how it is done:
Another Turquoise Article


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Paul Jones Navajo Sterling & Turquoise Bracelet Marked P. JONES STERLING.

Courtesy of Cheri Van Hoover


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Zuni Inlaid Opal Sterling Butterfly Pin - Signed EE and Zuni

Courtesy of Cheri Van Hoover


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Native American Silver & Turquoise Bracelet

Compliments of Cheri Van Hoover


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This is one of the two bracelets Cheri wears every day.
Cheri says:
"The first bracelet is Northwest Coast, by a young carver. I'm looking
all over the house for my documentation on this piece, and can't find
it right now... That has his full name and tribal affiliation. .. I
bought it at the gift shop at the Royal BC Museum, in Victoria,
British Columbia. The images are of an eagle and a salmon. This is a
special bracelet for me because the salmon spawn here on my property,
and bald eagles fly overhead. A major theme of Northwest Coast art is
transformation - in this case the transformation is water to sky,
predator to prey to predator. Eternal cycles and circles... Unlike
Southwest Native American art, Northwest Coast art usually depicts
clan affiliations and tells very specific stories."

Courtesy of Cheri Van Hoover


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"This Northwest Coast brooch was a gift from my mother about 20 years
ago. It is by an artist named Pat Seaweed. I'm not 100% certain, but
I believe Seaweed may be a woman. If so, she is one the very few
women who carve. Seaweed is Kwakiutl. The creature shown here is an orca, or killer whale."

Courtesy of Cheri Van Hoover


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Cluster Bracelet
This large unsigned bracelet is Navajo and looks like a Begay piece. However, this style was the "in" style at one time so it may not be.

Compliments of Nancy Cox

Pegasus Treasures


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Coral Bracelet
Unsigned coral bracelet. I believe it is Navajo.

Courtesy of Nancy Cox


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Coral Ring to match the Bracelet

Courtesy of Nancy Cox


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Zuni Flower Pin/Pendant
Notice the perfectly matched color of the stones and leaves. The leaves are carved. I purchased this in Farmington, NM about 15 years ago.

Courtesy of Nancy Cox


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Zuni Cluster Bracelet
This bracelet is typical of the Zuni work in the '70's. I have rings and earrings made in the same style. Their stones are always so well matched.

Courtesy of Nancy Cox


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Inlaid Silver Horse Pin
This pin is signed EE for Etta Endito, Navajo. She has had many pieces displayed in galleries and museums.

Courtesy of Nancy Cox


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Zuni Squash Blossom Necklace
This is one of the prettiest squash blossom necklaces I have ever seen. It is large but not so large that it distracts from anything else I'm wearing.

Courtesy of Nancy Cox


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Zuni Inlaid Pendant
This is a nice example of the Zuni inlay work. It is an older piece and has no signature.

Courtesy of Nancy Cox


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Silver Squash Blossom
A very old silver squash blossom necklace. It is unsigned and was black when I discovered it. I wear this one quite often. I am quite sure it is Navajo

Courtesy of Nancy Cox


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Beaded Barrettes
I have quite a few beaded barrettes made by various tribes. The Lakota Sioux have done beadwork for years but it is now becoming popular with the other tribes, also.

Courtesy of Nancy Cox


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Four NA pieces. I wondered about the white stones. The top right bracelet is Spiderweb turquoise.

Compliments of Bobye Syverson

The Enchanted Castle

Cheri Van Hoover says:
"Natural turquoise has a visible "matrix". This is considered
extremely desirable, and sometimes the pattern of the matrix material
gives the turquoise its particular name, like "spiderweb turquoise."
This excellent article shows a beautiful picture of a nugget of raw
spider web turquoise:
Turquoise Article


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All my rings. My husband gave me the one with the Jasper stone before we were married.

Courtesy of Bobye Syverson

Nancy Cox says:
"I think the white stones may be agate. A very interesting combination."


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The Naja is 6" across. The stones are all different colors.

Courtesy of Bobye Syverson


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Bought in Phoenix April 1952. It was a "Trading Post" type store.

Courtesy of Bobye Syverson


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Wonderful NA Bracelet with turquoise and coral.

Compliments of Karen Kavan

Ocean Bay Jewels

Nancy Cox says:
"I believe your bracelet is Navajo. There are a lot of JN marks and most have the last name of Nelson.

The signing of NA jewelry has only been popular for about the last 20 years. Most pieces were made for family members and not signed. Now, they are all signing their pieces. That is both good and bad. However, there are only a few books out on marks, the most useful being Hallmarks of the Southwest and Hopi Silver. Hopefully, in time, more marks will be recognized."


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Picture of the signature

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I bought this from a Zuni Native in the four corners area 20 years ago.Slepping Beauty Narural Turq. Nugget necklace with sleepy beauty Heishi Beads(this is the true color not dyed)

Compliments of Bob Brown

Brown's Jewelry & Collectibles


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Close-up of the Sleepy Beauty Turqouise Nuggets

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Navajo Old Pawn Squash Blossom Necklace. This would be a man's Necklace

Courtesy of Bob Brown


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Close up of the Naja.

Courtesy of Bob Brown


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Beautiful Sterling NA Bracelet

Compliments of Diana Craig Sparks

Bonnie & Clyde's Treasure Trove


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Sterling and Turquoise NA Ring

Courtesy of Diana Craig Sparks


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NA marked Nickel Silver and Genuine Turquoise Bracelet

Courtesy of Diana Craig Sparks

Cheri Van Hoover says:
"The nickel silver pieces are both in the Fred Harvey style. Nickel
silver doesn't contain any actual silver - it is an alloy of copper
and nickel, possibly with some other metals"


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NA marked Nickel Silver and Turquoise Bracelet


Courtesy of Diana Craig Sparks


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I have had it for about 30 years and I bought it at a house sale which had a lot of old Native American artifacts.  This is a beaded necklace and impossible to get a pic of the whole thing at once as it is very long. Unfortunately, it is also in bad shape with missing beads.  I don't feel like it's a commercial piece.
Any comments welcome.

Compliments of the Dianne Lavenburg Collection

Diane says:
"I was just doing some web surfing and ran on to this site with an extensive collection of NA everything, including jewelry which I found quite informative.  Furthermore, they offer free on-line informal appraisals as well as extensive insurance appraisals that you pay for.  I'm not endorsing the site, just passing along info to anyone interested.

Indian Territory


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Old Pawn Sterling cuff

Compliments of Sheri Weiss

Boo Bears Baubles


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NA Pettipoint Squash Blossom Necklace


Courtesy of Sheri Weiss


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The Signature

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NA Turquoise and coral Squash Blossom Necklace

Courtesy of Sheri Weiss


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Spiney Lobster Sterling cuff

Compliments of Sheri Weiss


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Old Pawn Turquoise and Sterling Earrings

Courtesy of Sheri Weiss


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WP 12KGF Earrings
Wilson Padilla, Navajo, a smith for New Mexico Jewelry. Mark first used in 1975

Compliments of Lilly Vittetow

Lilly's Vintage Jewelry


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Picture of the mark WP 12KGF

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Silver Bear Claw bracelet
Common design, could be anyone

Courtesy of Lilly Vittetow


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Copper Zuni Knife wing bracelet
marked Copper in 2 places on the clasp.

Courtesy of Lilly Vittetow


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Roadrunner Pin and Eye Pin..
Possibly two pieces of Zuni jewelry.

Compliments of the Sharon Gross Collection..

Nancy Cox Says:
"I believe both of your pieces are Zuni.Notice the matching of stones in the eye pin. That is a good indication of Zuni craftmanship."


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1930's Navajo Sterling Silver Jewelry - Cuff Bracelet with Arrowheads

Compliments of Polly Curtiss


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1940's Handmade Navajo Jewelry - Brooch in Sterling Silver with Stamped Design - Concha Pin

Courtesy of Polly Curtiss


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Signed Native American Turquoise Sterling Jewelry - Sand Cast Pendant - Larry Begay

Courtesy of Polly Curtiss


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Red beadwork necklace, 1999.
From one of the Northwest peoples near Victoria, BC.

Compliments of the Linda Jo Mitchell Collection


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Four NA Rings

Compliments of Sande Kattau

KATTSLAIR


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Silver Matrix

Courtesy of Sande Kattau


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Loloma Cuff

Courtesy of Sande Kattau


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Turquoise NA Earrings

Courtesy of Sande Kattau


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Dancer Ring

Courtesy of Sande Kattau


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Sterling Signed GM Pink Shell Earrings - purchased 15 years ago.

Compliments of Georjean West

ShopWest on eBay


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Men's Sterling and Turquoise Ring

Compliments of Georjean West


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Santo Domingo Pueblo Sterling Heart Pin

Compliments of Georjean West


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Mark on Heart Pin

Compliments of Georjean West


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Zuni Malachite and Shell Sterling Earrings Marked FSN (15 years old)

Compliments of Georjean West


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Sterling Malachite Earrings Marked FY (15 to 20 years old)

Compliments of Georjean West


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Sterling Bracelet Marked Rp

Note from Nancy Cox:  Probably Rose Pincio, Zuni

Compliments of Georjean West


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Native American Sterling Rings

Courtesy of Tracy Green

Venus Vintage Jewelry


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Pre-1930s Navajo Squash Blossom Necklace, Tufa-cast and Forged Ingot beads. Marked U.S.Navajo.

Compliments of the Yen Motyka Collection


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Close-up View

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Navajo Sterling and Turquoise Squash Blossom Necklace

Compliments of the Yen Motyka Collection


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Zuni Necklace Depicting Apache Mountain Spirit Dancers

Compliments of the Yen Motyka Collection


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Close-up View of Inlay

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Large Navajo Cuff Bracelet

Compliments of the Yen Motyka Collection


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Side View of Bracelet

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Handmade Sterling Necklace Marked PS or JR

Courtesy of Deb Schneider

Adornment

The Kennedy Museum at Ohio University in Athens, OH is having an
exhibit of Zuni art (including 400 pieces of jewelry). I just heard
about it today and Rik and I are planning to go. The Museum has some
of the exhibit online at:
Kennedy Museum of Art-Art of the Zuni


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NA charms including a jack rabbit, a buffalo (bison) with turquoise, a tomahawk, a bear claw with turquoise and a Kokopelli.  The only mark is "Sterling" on the bear claw. Note: Sterling bracelet is not NA and is marked 925 Italy.


Compliments of Elizabeth Cooper

Miss Martha's Memories

Nancy Cox says "Your Indian charm is an Indian god rather than a tribe member. It is Kokopelli who was considered the god of fertility. Kokopelli has become very popular ever since the Southwest decorating era. He shows up in jewelry, pottery, rugs, and everything!"


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Close-up of Kokopelli Charm

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Native American Watch marked "R. TOM"

Compliments of Elizabeth Cooper

Nancy Cox says "This is a good example of something that might have been made for his own use. Signing is now popular but doesn't necessarily mean the item is for sale."


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View of Mark on Watch

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Squash Blossom Ring
Bought in the 1970s. No marks

Compliments of Lorna Breshears

Jewelry Addiction


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Bell Trading Co. Ring
Bought this in the 70s, maybe around Grand Coulee Dam area.

Courtesy of Lorna Breshears


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Turquoise Ring
Again 1970s

Courtesy of Lorna Breshears


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Navajo Ring
My fave--a gift from 1974 or 75 from a teacher who had lived on a reservation.

Courtesy of Lorna Breshears


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Pretty Turquoise Pin

Courtesy of Lorna Breshears


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Picture of mark

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Mother of Pearl Ring in Sterling Silver
I aquired several pieces by this maker with a simple mark CJ this ring is stunning with a nice pink Mother of pearl center.
Possible NA or reproduction

Compliments of Brandy Smith

Davine Dezines Vintage Treasures on eBay


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Coin Silver Turquoise Bracelet
Possible NA or reproduction


Courtesy of Brandy Smith


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Sterling Silver Cuff
Possible NA or reproduction

Courtesy of Brandy Smith


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Another Sterling Silver Cuff
Possible NA or reproduction

Courtesy of Brandy Smith


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Pretty Cuff Bracelet
Possible NA or reproduction

Compliments of Brandy Smith


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Sterling Silver and Mother-of-pearl Shell Inlay Ring, marked SC

Courtesy of Mary Ann Docktor-Smith

Mary Ann, Mary Ann Designs and Anna's Vintage Jewelry


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Mark on Ring

Courtesy of Mary Ann Docktor-Smith


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NA Sterling Silver Turquoise Earrings (purchased in 1976)

Courtesy of Mary Ann Docktor-Smith


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View of mark

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NA Turquoise Earrings

Compliments of the Connie Gumtow Collection


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NA Inlay Silver

Compliments of the Connie Gumtow Collection


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NA Cuff Bracelet

Compliments of the Connie Gumtow Collection


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NA Turquoise Brooch

Compliments of the Connie Gumtow Collection


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NA Necklace with Shell Inlay

Compliments of the Connie Gumtow Collection


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Mark on Necklace

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NA Turquoise Bracelet

Courtesy of Evelyn Rowell

magnoliaglitz on eBay


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Multi Stone Bracelet

Courtesy of Evelyn Rowell


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Navajo Ring

Courtesy of Evelyn Rowell


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Side view of NA Cuff

Courtesy of Evelyn Rowell


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NA Najavo Squash Blossom Necklace

Compliments of the Norma Adams Collection


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NA Najavo Turquoise Nugget Necklace

Compliments of the Norma Adams Collection


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NA Squash Blossom Necklace

Compliments of the Norma Adams Collection


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NA Squash Blossom Necklace

Compliments of the Norma Adams Collection

Nancy Cox says "Likely Apache."


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NA Turquoise Necklace and Earrings

Courtesy of Dinah Hoyt Taylor

CAPRICIOUS CROWNS & JEWELS

Dinah says "My father gave this choker and earrings to my mother in 1957. He bought it in Scottsdale, AZ for their 30th anniversary.  The earrings were clips, and I had them converted in 1970."


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NA Sterling Silver Cuff Bracelet (1947)

Courtesy of Dinah Hoyt Taylor


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NA Concho Belt (1957)

Courtesy of Dinah Hoyt Taylor


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NA Sterling Silver Malachite Cabochon Native American Southwestern Mens Cuff Bracelet, marked "Sterling" inside and artist signed as well. (Circa 1950-60)

Compliments of Carolyn Sunday

Sunday and Sunday

Nancy Cox says:
"There is a lot of malachite used in Native American Indian jewelry. I have a necklace, several bracelets, and several rings."


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NA Turquoise Pendent Necklace

Courtesy Wendy Kelly

kellyww on eBay
and
Vintageday on etsy.com


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NA Turquoise Sterling Ring

Courtesy Wendy Kelly


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NA Feather Dangle Earrings

Courtesy Wendy Kelly


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Back of Earrings showing the marks S.J. and Sterling

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NA Horn with Eagle Motif Pendant

Courtesy of Wendy Kelly


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NA Zuni Cuff Bracelet marked "F. PANTEAH" (Florentine Panteah)

Compliments of Diane Hanselman

Past and Present Jewelry


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Side View of Bracelet

Compliments of Diane Hanselman


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Bracelet Mark

Compliments of Diane Hanselman