The Army has kept me so busy as of late, and I haven’t been able to keep up with Turquoise People as I would like. I just wanted to share my finds from the Indian Market at the Autry Museum in Los Angeles, CA. I wasn’t able to attend in person, so I made my mom go in my place, and I made her FaceTime me everywhere she went!
This was my first time shopping directly from the artists (well, sort of…) and I must say that it’s a much different experience that shopping for second-hand vintage. All of the artists were very kind and understanding, and were especially patient with my mom and I as we video-chatted.
The first piece of jewelry that stood out to me were these heishe earrings from Santo Domingo artists, Mary and Gerard Calabaza. The Calabaza’s are some of the few artists who still hand-roll their heishe. Rolling out heishe is a lengthy and time consuming process, so lots of artists will opt to use heishe imported from the Philippines.
Tucked in between the turquoise heishe, you can see two copper disc beads. These beads are stamped with the Calabaza’s hallmark. Here is a picture of Mary at her table:
The next piece is one that caught my mom’s eye, and she made sure to snatch it up on my behalf. It’s a tufa cast naja by Ronnie Henry.
The naja features Ithaca Peak turquoise, and 14k gold starbursts. Ronnie said that he has only ever made 2 najas with gold in them. The first piece (which was identical to this one) was originally just supposed to be a silver naja. He felt that it needed a little something more, and so he added the 14k drops. He loved the design so much, he decided to keep it, and made another one just for the show! You can see him wearing the matching naja in this picture:
As my mom was walking through the showroom floor, she spotted these lil guys. Two frog fetishes carved from Kingman turquoise by Georgette Quam and Reynold Lunasee! I thought these guys were reasonably priced at $25 each:
She had lots of wonderfully carved little critters on her table
This next one is a real showstopper- a hair ornament with sleeping beauty turquoise, and it’s HUUUGE. It was made by Navajo silversmith, Erecka Lee. I would rather not tell you what we paid for this one
And I saved the best for last. My mom sent me a picture of a list of artist-vendors who were selling at the Indian Market. I noticed that Lyndon Tsosie was on the list, an artist whom I both admire and respect. I told my mom that It would be beneficial for her to swing by his table just to look at his work (Lyndon has won many awards and is known for his stamp work on heavy gauge silver). Lyndon was especially kind and patient while my mom FaceTimed me to show me all of his amazing pieces. Long story short- we ended up walking away with one of Lyndon’s pieces. It’s Indian Mountain turquoise on thick silver, and it’s super heavy.
The shank of my ring, with his hallmark pictured:
Lyndon at his table, holding my ring- along with some other gems he had for sale: