So…I bought this cuff at Ogg’s Hogan a few years back. Like the frog cuff I posted a bit ago, it was one I had seen there previously and didn’t buy. It kinda stuck with me, and when I was back and it was still there, I got it. I’m not sure why I was so drawn to it. I was trying to choose between it and some other pieces that were more detailed and had turquoise, but I just liked this one the best.
When I purchased it, the owner Jeff was not there. The two ladies that were working felt it was a fairly old piece. I was asking them because it was kinda pricey, and I was trying to figure out why it was more than the other more detailed pieces I was considering. I think they thought it was 1950s or earlier (I can’t remember exactly), but they weren’t sure. They said he’d had it a very long time, and it had always been at this price. The ladies also said he doesn’t generally raise prices on things he has even when the value goes up, so it must have been a more valuable piece than the others I was looking at. It has an old feel, but I am no expert. It appears to be two pieces of silver soldered together and hollow in between them, so it’s not heavy. It feels kind of like a shadow box piece in its weight. There’s a lot of hammer marks or something like that on the inside. I tried to get pictures of it on the inside but they’re not too easy to see. On one end inside the silver almost seems kind of crinkled.
I really didn’t think too much about it for a while, but now I’m wondering how old it could possibly be. I emailed him but haven’t heard back yet.
I knew when I got it it would be something that wouldn’t necessarily be appreciated by people that didn’t love Native American art. Figured people would think it was from India or Pakistan or somewhere like that. I actually did have a lady in the airport ask me if it was from Nepal. But I love it. The ladies working there said the stamp design is called lozenges. Thought that was interesting.
I’d really love it if some of you experts would weigh in!!
If and when I hear back from Jeff I will add that to this post.
Very cool bracelet. My thought is that it’s a 1950s-1960ish Navajo Modernist bracelet of the Navajo Arts and Crafts Guild sort. If you don’t know about the Guild you’ll find it interesting to read about: they were an effort to improve quality, with training by master Navajo silversmiths. Yours has no hallmark, is that right?
The two-layer pieces are known as “hollow form” bracelets. The use of a minimalist, repeating design on a mostly plain background is characteristic of Guild work, as is the chiseled border. What makes this unusual is the way the border is all the way around, like a picture frame. I’ve never seen these particular stamps on a Guild piece, but the idea certainly fits. By the way, if it’s actually Guild made, most likely the stamps themselves would have been handmade by the artist, versus commercially acquired.
Enjoy your nice cuff!
Very interesting, thank you!! And I will look up info on the guild. Correct, no hallmark. I wish I had thought to contact Jeff Ogg sooner about the cuff. I’ll see if he emails me back.
I’m glad you like it also; I couldn’t put my finger on it, but there’s just something about it that I love.
And I do enjoy it, I wear it quite a lot. I have a very narrow wrist so I have a hard time finding cuffs that fit me. Ogg’s Hogan seems to have quite a bit in my size.
That looks very heavy. I love the design.
Glad you were able to find a small cuff you enjoy. I have tiny wrists and finding cuff’s that fit is a challenge.
It would be interesting to find a date of when this technique was first used. We date Navajo silver by technique and this is definitely more complicated. Found this write up on a bracelet like yours.
Thank you Jason. I looked up stuff about the guild last night, but missed that one. So it seems like most everything I saw from the guild had it’s hallmark. Mine has no mark. Does that rule the arts and crafts guild out?
There’s some number of “Guild style” pieces out there. Unless it’s hallmarked it couldn’t be sold to you (or by you) as definitively NACG. As I understand it, however, there’s ambiguity on how fully the hallmarking program was carried out. Hallmarking affects price, of course.
If you’d like an expert on Guild material to look at your bracelet and weigh in, drop a note to Kim Messier. She has an Instagram account and I don’t know, may be on Facebook too (I don’t use it). She would probably be willing to look at photos. Kim and her mother Pat are very astute researchers, filling in lots of gaps in the published histories on makers.
That’s not a problem, it wasn’t sold to me as such and I certainly don’t plan on selling it; if I did I would be completely honest. I’ve just wondered about this piece ever since I got it. This may sound weird, but sometimes I look at it and wonder why I liked it so much. It wasn’t extremely expensive, but it was more than I had paid for any piece of jewelry up to that point. Almost double of what my frog cuff was from the same store (which is my very favorite piece to wear), although I think I got a steal on that.
I appreciate the info you’ve given me, gives me a lot of places to look. I may try to find a way contact Kim Messier, but I’m not on Instagram or Facebook (and really don’t want to be at this point in time).
Thanks again! It may remain another puzzle.
I couldn’t find an email address for Kim Messier so I ended up posting a question to the blog. I’ll let you know if I hear anything. Now I am intrigued!
Considering the $2400 price tag on the cuff Jason linked, how much is a Guild hallmark worth?
I’m thinking one of the reasons for that price was who they were thinking the artist of that particular cuff is.
I agree. I just don’t put that much value into “attributions”.
To be fair, the linked cuff does have a Guild hallmark, and Guild hallmarked stuff does get pretty pricy, especially a bigger (wider) cuff like this one. It’s just not hallmarked by Kenneth Begay. But I agree with @TAH; if I’m paying a Kenneth Begay price (or the attribution is affecting my decision to buy) then I want the hallmark.
They’re notoriously sky-high retailers. A normal, excellent Guild piece wouldn’t be priced this way. Kenneth Begay, though, is certainly in the elite price tier, but naturally you’d want to be dead sure it’s KB and not a sort of-KB.
[Whoops, Zia, I accidentally am addressing you when I meant to reply to @TAH’s comment on attributions.] My point is, it depends who’s attributing. In my experience there are some rare birds out there who’ve handled the estates of some of the famed makers and know at a granular level what a thing is, independent of hallmark. Not a lot of such dealers, though.
I’m sure that is true, @chicfarmer. The cuff could be a Begay, but for $2400, I think most of us need more than: “This splendid and unique silver bracelet is very possibly the product of the great Kenneth Begay (1913-1977) in disguise, so to speak, in our opinions.”
1000%. (And their approach to ad copy reminds me of the old J Peterman catalogs. )
Whoo…for that price, I need to know exactly what I’m buying!
@Ziacat 's cuff is a beauty!