Amazing piece but I am at a loss as to what it is

I have the opportunity to purchase this piece but I am unfamiliar with the form or value.

The story I am being told is that is was given a verbal appraisal as likely a Navajo chest piece and made is the thirties or forties. The pieces are held together with what appears to be some type of lacquer.

Overall length is about 6", weight feels to be about 5 or 6 ounces.
Thanks for the help.

This looks like a married piece and by that I mean somebody has taken it and added their own pieces to it. I feel it is far to cluttered to be a Navajo piece unless under all that added spiny oyster there is true Navajo work. The two cabs and the silver work look Navajo but all that other “stuff” looks glued on. Also the back puzzles me as it doesn’t seem to be the Navajo made it looks more like a belt buckle to me rather than a “chest piece”?.
I can’t tell if there are Hallmarks in the middle of it or not.
It’s up to you if you like it buy it, but if it is an investment or for re-sale proceeded with caution.

Browsing around today in some of my old jewelry books. I suspect because of the bars on the back that it was once a bow guard or “ketho”. The leather would have passed under the bars and then tied or snapped around your wrist.

Thank you very much for your help. I didn’t agree with the chest piece theory myself. I kind of think the extras were attached at the time the piece was constructed. They look like they are held on with hide glue, and the patina looks pretty even. Just an amateur opinion though.
I am being offered it for $450. Any thoughts on that price?

Again, thank you for your help.

Instead of thinking this piece as a whole. I think the stones would worth more if they were to be removed and use for craft. They offered $450. Think about how much the turquoises are actually worth if they were to be taken out. The yellow creature with inlay look like zuni. While the turquoise underneath look to be navajo. It’s different pieces being put together.

And the melding is confusing to me as well, although maybe not so much since the Zuni silver tradition comes from the Navajo. From what I understand, early Zuni work is pretty much the same as Navajo. It is not until the 20s and 30s that they became truly distinct.
I know they individual stones have quite a bit of value, but I would prefer to keep it together until I am sure it is an amalgam.

The work looks originally Navajo as the main two cabs are mounted in bezels. I can’t tell if the inlayed bear is surrounded in a bezel or not but I have never seen a piece mounted like that on such a beautiful cab of what appears to be Morenci turquoise.
All the rest of it is just a mismatch of stuff glued on in a haphazard manor. In some places it appears to be glued over the silver work hiding the work that the artist laid down in the first place. Why do that?
As for removing the stones, good luck with that. The chance of them cracking or chipping are to great and if they are also glued in the bezels you are sure to damage them.
IMHO if somebody wants to pay you $450.00 go for it.
I would still like to know if those three marks between the bars are a Hallmark.

Hallmark: You can click the image for a larger version… then click that for a full sized images which is quite large… it does not look like there is a hallmark of any kind :frowning:

I agree on the dots being unlikely to be makers marks. Piece seems totally unsigned. Oh well, I may never know the real history.
Thank you all for your insight.