Any info on a Zuni (maybe) piece?

Hello! First of all I’m mostly a lurker here and I want to thank everyone who is so knowledgeable and takes the time to answer questions. I’ve learned a ton already!

Anyway, I was at an antique shop and ran into a couple pieces I was told were very old. One was a spiny oyster pendant signed Joe L. Gray, and the other is pictured here…I was told it was Zuni and maybe from the 1930s, but I really have no idea so was hoping someone could confirm that. It’s not marked, and seems to be strung on a waxy thread. It doesn’t have a fancy clasp, so it seems old! Thank you!

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Hello to you!
Musta been storybook time at the shop. :smile: To me it reads 1960s-1980 “Southwestern” (non-Native) or possibly Santo Domingo. The materials seem to be imported stuff (heishi) and low-end stones. The leaf has a resemblance to a design idea used by a very few high-end Zuni artists, but unlikely to be Zuni work. The findings (clasp) are typical commerical type.

The dark brown heishi is always a red flag when something is represented as being both old and high quality, because so very much of it was midcentury Phillippines import.

Hopefully @Jason will join in.

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This looks similar to necklaces made in the 1980’s when I lived on the Navajo Nation.
Many Navajo’s used the import heishi combined with turquoise, coral and fetishes.
A turquoise focal carving was sometimes added.
These were sold at flea markets, grocery store parking lots and at overlooks along Canyon de Chelly.

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Thanks to both of you for weighing in! I actually purchased this because it looked fun, then got the Zuni story, unsolicited. So I’m not disappointed that it’s not anything but a fun piece. I could do a quick google search on the other things I bought, and they were legit, so then I thought well, what if this is the most amazing find ever? I mean, there probably aren’t many Zuni experts in Marion, Iowa, right? they might not know if this is a treasure! Clearly I’ve been locked in my house for 98% of the last year :joy::joy::joy:


When we are talking turquoise leafs, Zuni and the 1930s we usually go directly to Leekya Deyuse. Most of the time he would be doing the carving for trader CG Wallace who would then give it to someone to have it set in silver. So it could be a leaf that had a hole and someone made it into a necklace. However, the dyed coral necklace and stabilized turquoise suggest that this is contemporary. Here is an image of a Leekya carved leaf, literally a museum piece. You will notice this leaf has that split down the center like Dremel was used, plus you see the scratches suggesting not carefully finished.


That is spectacular, thank you for responding!

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