Bisbee Blue by Lee Begay

Looking for an appraisal on this dated 1976 bolo by Lee Begay. The bolo centerpiece measures 2.3 inches in height by 1.8 inches in width. The piece of Bisbee Turquoise measures 1.5 inches in height by 0.9 inches in width. A colleague who deals in NA jewelry estimated about 40 carats of Bisbee.

The reverse of the bolo is signed “Made by Lee Begay” and perpendicular to it, “Bisbee Blue 3-22-76” and price tag written in permanent marker, which may or may not be original.

I’m looking for an approximation of value as well as artist info. The only Lee Begay I found specializes in Tufa Casts, and was born in 1970, so it is unlikely that my bolo was made by him. Perhaps there are two Lee Begay’s?

It is interesting that I came across a reference to a Leo Begay in Hougart’s book, detail states handmade by Leo Begay (etched script). Yours definitely looks like a Lee, but doesn’t mean that the book didn’t make a mistake. Besides the script information the only other thing useful is hollowware. Similar techniques are used for shadowbox style jewelry.

I wouldn’t have called this stone Bisbee, but with the writing on the back it makes it difficult to call it something else. Carat weight is always difficult to predict when the stone is set. The stone has great color. The big difference is going to be whether the stone is Bisbee or not. Bisbee your looking at $1200, not Bisbee $750 - $800.

Jason, this bolo was such a gamble for me since I had never even seen a piece of real Bisbee before, but I’ve always read about the “chocolate matrix.”

I got a lot of comments on it when I wore it to the flea market, someone told me that it was “spiderweb Bisbee,” and that there are other kinds, like smokey Bisbee, Bisbee blue, quartz- included Bisbee, water web Bisbee, etc. I’m learning new things everyday, lol. Thanks for your insight, you and the forum are great resources :slight_smile:

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