I have two cluster rings that in some ways are very similar but also quite different. The first, to be honest, I don’t even like that much. I got it at a flea market because it seemed like a good deal at $40 for real turquoise. But I’m thinking it’s pretty low quality turquoise because it’s fairly discolored. And I’m wondering if it’s cast vs handmade and if it’s even really Zuni. The second one I paid a good bit more for but it brings me so much more joy. The bright blue color of the stones is beautiful and I love the three different cuts of the stones and the slightly unique way in which they are arranged. And the silverwork is much more appealing to me.
So my questions: what are the approximate age and values of these two rings? And is the first even an authentic Zuni ring?
To me they both look like real Turquoise and I would say the first ring could be older but someone on here with more experience would be better to help - I would think pics of the backs of the rings would be helpful though x
I agree they are both real turquoise. But the second one appears to me to be much higher quality turquoise–maybe sleeping beauty?
I can post pics of the backs later today but they are pretty standard and unrevealing without hallmarks. They do have some very faint marks scratched into them that don’t look like hallmarks to me and I’m not sure will even show up in pics.
These are both genuine Zuni made, turquoise rings. I would venture to say that the first ring is probably from the 50’s, while the second one, is likely from the 50’s or 60’s (both are old, but seeing the backs is important when determing approximate age!) Here’s what I find interesting g about your rings. The quality of the turquoise in your rings are actually very similar to each other, in my opinion. The reason that your favorite ring is bright blue, compared to the first ring may or may not be due to stabilization. The turquoise in the first ring was likely not the color you see now. Body oils, water, etc., will all impact the color of porous turquoise over some time. The second ring, seems to have retained most of its original color. That may be because it was stabilized, or because it did not come into contact with the same amount of oils and fluids as the first ring. Post us a picture of the back and I’ll try to narrow down the age a little more
This one also has very similar scratch marks in the same place, slightly easier to make out. This one I think says ZLEX.
I’m surprised and pleased to hear that they both may be older. It often seems like every time I have something that seems like it could be older the experts’ opinion is that it’s more recent than I had guessed. I do think that the turquoise in the greener one has changed color some over the years. The green color, the fact that some stones are darker and greener than others, and especially the one stone which has a clear demarcation of darker and lighter colors had all led me to believe that. However it’s not just the stone color but also the arrangement of the stones and the silverwork that I prefer in the second ring.
Here is an additional ring that I would be very curious to know the age of. The Etsy seller I bought it from claimed it was 40’s but I doubt that, given how rare the older pieces are. My best guess would be 60’s-70’s but I’m curious what you guys think.
I’ve tried to find out what the markings might be on both rings (the backs definitely back up BigBree’s identification of age )
I’ve had no luck with the first ring but the second one looks like UEX - when I searched this a few items came up (all Zuni Petit Point) but no listings under those initials in any books or websites that I could see - however a question regarding the identification of this artist was asked on this site in Feb 16 - I’ve attached a screenshot of it - as you can see the item was purchased in Mexico in the 1940’s. I can’t see that the query was replied to but someone might know a bit more about this artist? Hope that helps
Thanks for your help. I can see now how it might say UEX instead of ZLEX which was what I initially thought. I also hadn’t thought that it was an artist’s hallmark but perhaps something that an owner scratched into it at one point, but given the info in your post maybe it is an early artist’s hallmark. Thanks again!
No problem - I like a mystery! Some artists engrave or scratch their name or ‘mark’ into a piece - I’ve been told this is because the actual metal hallmark stamps were too expensive. More common on earlier pieces. Xxxxxx
I think some of what you are seeing on the first and what is bothering your aesthetics is due to age and exposure. Often sawdust was used as a leveling agent under the stones to make them level, painstaking! Sawdust deteriorates over time and stones will then shift and loosen. The easiest was to tighten them is to just smash in the bezels, I’ve seen people use a nickle (5 cent piece) to push the teeth inward. A nickle has a smooth edge, so a ridge will not be impressed on the bezel