Recently i’ve been getting more and more into Turquoise, and the more time i spend with it the more amazing things keep happening.
Now i knew about a Turquoise necklace that had been sitting for sale for months without anybody batting an eye. The offering was about to expire and disappear from the internet forever. I kept staring at the piece, admiring it and thinking how much stones it actually contains and how affordable it is. Long story short i decided to buy it before i would regret it forever.
Like usual in my area there’s not much provenance. The seller was clearing out the remainings from 30 years of collecting tribal, ethnic and Native American items. Like the necklace i previously bought from him he estimated this one to be from around the 70s too, emphasising that these ‘old Navajo ones’ are very rare. I haven’t seen anything similar to them in my area before, so to me they are indeed a rare find. I also like to believe that the necklace might have a few decennia of age to it, but am not sure it could be dated as far back as the 1970s. It looks heavily worn though and there are chips missing here and there in the Turquoise plus one stone appears to be missing completely. The clasp didn’t test as silver and looks like it might be copper or something alike. I wonder if that detail could be an indicator for age determination.
I don’t have a clue what the stones might be and would really appreciate your guesses. To me they all have the same characteristics, with these cacao like formations, but i just can’t find any match(es). Not sure if they might be natural Turquoise or not, but at least they don’t appear to have been heavily dipped in plastics. The cord is very brittle, to the point that i hardly dare to wear it, even at home (it has about 4 points where it is about to break, with threads already hanging loose).
The seller also offered some bargain lots with the remainder of his bead collection and various bits and pieces all mixed together, e.g. a Balinese Bison pendant carved from bone, Venetian trade beads, some nice recently made Monague dreamcatcher earrings, a little NA looking cone with a small sunrise stamp, various plastic tourist items, etc. Pretty overwhelming to be honest, and a whole story in itself, but i’ll try to stick to the topic.
Because one thing that wasn’t pictured and that immediately caught my eye is the pendant that was mixed in there. To me it looks old and possibly Native American, because of the design and amount of tarnish on the silver. The bezel looks to be handcrafted. If i’m not mistaken it contains an actual bear fang and i do wonder what kind of stone would have been set in it originally (Turquoise, or perhaps red coral or something else). I’m really fascinated by this piece, it just has so much character to it. Would love to hear your thoughts regarding it’s age, meaning and if you would have a stone refitted or would keep it exactly as it is.
claw,not a tooth & highly unlikely from a bear. if not a plastic repro( kinda old-didja hot pin test?) could be badger.
odds are it was a turq.stone
Also it seems to be Native American because of what looks like old sawdust left in the bezel. I would replace it with a stone, but then I live in the US. You may have a harder time with that. Nice pendant and necklace. The cone was probably off the end of a necklace.
Agree with @newpawn, claw, not fang. I don’t know either if it’s real. In some states over here it’s illegal for non-natives to sell real claws (bear anyway, I don’t know about the rest, it varies state to state).
Ah claw, i had no idea. There’s seems to be quite some info online, i’m gonna check it out. Thanks!
Thanks again @Ziacat ! That is interesting to read, i’ll read into it some more
So I’m posting these two pictures for you, because we have an actual taxidermied small Black Bear (which is what my bear is, since it’s not a Grizzly).
My father brought it in the mid '70s from a friend who had a museum in northern MI, but had to sell some of the animals from the displays. It was legal then, don’t know if it is now. We had him displayed in my family’s furniture store, and then it was put in storage. We sold the buildings just a couple years ago, and we found the bear in storage. He was still in pretty good shape, and I had great memories of working in the family business while we had it, so I took it. Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of extra room in our downstairs, so he’s in a room upstairs.
The first picture with my hand touching the claw is to give you an idea of the size of the claw in this small Black Bear (nothing like a giant Grizzly though!).
Personally I love the turquoise with the turquoise heishi in between. I have a small necklace of just turquoise heishi, and then I have a longer one with stabilized Kingman Turquoise stones and shell heishi in between. Someday maybe I’ll get one more like yours.
Boy, voice texting really does not like to spell out heishi correctly
Hi @Ziacat , that is actually gorgeous and a beautiful story, thank you for sharing. I love how there is so much appreciation for generational culture over where you are.
And boy, those are some mean claws indeed. I like bears in general but certainly wouldn’t mess with one (;
Thank you, i am curious about your necklaces. To be honest i’m overwhelmed by these necklaces. I’ve never seen so much Turquoise in my life, let alone own it. I’m very grateful for it.
And i know, texting can be quite a chore sometimes hehe
I think your bear claw is likely the real thing @Bluegreen . Here are black bear claws off the bear and others prepped for jewelry.
Hi @StevesTrail thank you, that looks very interesting. I also think it is the real thing, i did the hot pin test and it definitely smells like burned hair.
Last night i was playing around with some of the beads, and snippets of unknown Turquoise that i found earlier and was amazed how it ‘lit up’ the pendant. At some point in time i think i’ll have a serious attempt (done) at restauration. But have to study first. I certainly don’t want to mess the piece/ bezel up.
If you can find a close matching cab you could use a dremel tool or even sandpaper (old timers used “rock blankets” to form softer stones) to do the final shaping and fit it right into the bezel then push the bezel against the stone. A good winter project. Other ideas are emery boards, nail files…then final polish if you trim above the bezel.
This is a great idea. I polish all of my flat stones set in jewelry to remove scratches and use zam to polish them. I use sand paper that I wet, so I can control the amount of pressure better but a dremel is much easier if you have to shape or trim more off. I have a jerry rigged water dripping system I made in my garage but I would keep dipping the turquoise in water while using the dremel on the lowest setting if you do attempt this. If you are worried, just get some cheap rocks to practice on until you feel comfortable, that way if you decide to send it out to be repaired you haven’t damaged anything.
Edited to add, that the stones have to be out of the setting if you use water. I do not wet the sandpaper or the stone if I’m sanding or polishing stones still in the setting
Thanks @StevesTrail those are some great leads that i’ll look into. Rock blankets sounds pretty nce. For now i’ll look into the simplest manual options. I do want to get a dremel soon and maybe even a starter set to melt a bit of metal. Partly because thanks to the metal detecting i like to do, i have some copper etc. laying around that i could work with.
Thanks @CyanideRose18 that is some very helpful advice, i appreciate it.
You’re so welcome. Please share the final product with us
Thanks, might take some time but will do!
As far as the Turquoise in the necklace goes, i’ve settled with thinking that they might be Kingman. I saw a photo online where the patterns on the stones imho resembled the ones on the necklace. Would be very interested in hearing other’s opinions though.
What i can’t find any info on is if the non-silver clasp (copper? 9k gold?) might be an indicator for age of the necklace.
They do remind me of the stones in one of mine which I believe are also Kingman (I’m pretty sure mine are stabilized).
That sounds nice @Ziacat . I am not sure if mine are stabilized or not, as i can’t find any blobs of resin residue. Also the sheen on the stones is somewhat matte/dull, not as ‘glassy’ as some of my other stones that i suspect are stabilized.
Plus i’m reasoning that if they would have been filled to the brim with some type of epoxy, that there wouldn’t be so much (small) bits missing/ damaged.
But i’m rambling, am still in way over my head, haven’t even properly studied things like the Zachary method for instance.