Is this possibly Hopi by Victor Coochwytewa

This ring has been in friend’s family for many years in Las Cruces, NM and sold to me. Just liked the simplicity but have no idea what it means if anything.

Thought it was Mexican due to .925 mark until reviewing Bille Hougart’s latest NA & Southwestern Silver Hallmarks. Raincloud hallmark nearly identical to one for Victor
Coochwytewa. Found these “X” pattern’s in some of his elaborate pieces referred to as “stars”, and the marquis or rhombus shape on a simple concho bag.

I sent photos to a gentleman who said it does “contain old elements”. He said it is possibly Victor Coochwytewa, but more research would need to be done. I don’t know what “old elements” means. I’ve scoured the Internet and haven’t come up with any additional info outside of what I’ve found.

Two “X” patterns on either side of 14k raised center. Raised center depicts 2 “X” patterns on each side of a marquis or rhombus pattern in the center.

The ring measures 10mm in front and tapers to 5mm in the back

Hallmarked with 3 connected rain clouds and 5 raindrops, 14k and .925. There is some additional text (I think) that is unreadable.

I’m just trying to confirm silversmith and get an estimated date range. Thank you to everybody for any and all input.



Hello Terry, the rain cloud stamp on your ring is referenced on this website:

Here is a composite photo of rain cloud marks from above source.

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Hi Steve:

Thank you so much for your input. The website you referenced is my favorite go to source for quick references and I did see the Chinese fake hallmark. My confusion came with the fact the ring is marked .925 vs Sterling, and the raindrop pattern on the Chinese version forms kind of a “v” shaped pattern if that makes sense. The raindrops are heavier, shorter on the ends and become longer towards the middle. I had read that VC did some work in 14K. While this doesn’t have a large amount, just the center area, I couldn’t see the Chinese using it to rip off the public and the Native Americans as it wouldn’t be cost effective. Geez…that makes me so angry.

I’m attaching the page I was referencing from Bille Hougart’s book which indicates multiple versions of the rainclouds, some with initials, some without, some with the Hopi Guild Mark, some with the Kopavi mark. Thus, my confusion still exists. If you have additional places you would recommend looking I would appreciate it as well.

Thank you again!

Hi and welcome back! Can we please get a close-up and clearer pic of the writing, the cloud, and the front of the ring? Thanks

its a long shot and a major bear to search but the U.S. patent and trademark office may have something listed in the 10,950 images with a cloud in the design element.

LOL…hobbies are so much fun and can be time consuming if one get’s swallowed up chasing things down the proverbial rabbit hole. And maybe a Chinese rabbit hole at that!

Thank you Steve, for the additional research option. Winter is coming to Colorado starting this week so my day’s of working in the yard are numbered!


Hi Koliopee:
I must have taken 60 pics to try and get a few unblurry shots! Took the polishing cloth to the text and the rain cloud in hopes of gaining more visibility in photos. It’s hard to show the raindrops as they are very well worn and the lines on some are faint but visible under my loupe. I still can’t read the text after some serious polishing. Hope these are somewhat helpful

Thank you for asking and any input!

To me this does not resemble Victor Coochwytewa’s work, which you can see many examples of here:

He most commonly worked in overlay, with detailed yet bold and precise designs, where this ring has a very simple stamped design.

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Thank you for your response. I agree wholeheartedly. I was not familiar with him as my collecting mainly consists of old Navajo and a bit of Zuni. But it sure looks nothing like what he is famous for.

Then I wondered if it was even a practice piece. Somebody’s practice piece. Silversmith’s don’t just sit down and create the art they are known for, it is a skill they learn. Either way, it is simple and I like the simplicity.

Thanks again!


Hi Terry, interesting piece. Aside from the potential problem with the hallmark, IMHO, it doesn’t look NA. I would think that the X’s wouldn’t take a great deal of skill to make. Unless it’s my eyes, the 14k looks like it’s rubbing off at the edges? if so, that would make it a slam dunk fake. You could test it and see. Good luck, Kerry

Hi Kerry: That .925 hallmark had me confused as well. And the design is elementary which made me think a beginning smith piece? I only mention that because I took a semester of basic jewelry making in HS. I was amazed at some of the work, and not surprised by the rest😊. Testing the gold would be an option, but since it is on the face, I hesitate to do that. It does appear everything is leaning towards a fake. My friend in NM didn’t know anything about the marks when she told me she was selling it. I didn’t either. I just remember her uncle wearing it for at least 45 years. Still like it!

Thanks for your input!

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I am finding a handful of pieces in this same style attributed to Victor Coochwytewa, which I believe is incorrect. Has anybody been able to make out the other mark on the left?

about as good as i can get it from your shot

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This ring is pretty weird and full of questions…I will just add what I’m seeing. I am seeing a solder seem in the right place for a hand fabbed ring but most fakes would be entirely cast which than leaves no solder seams because of time and money. I am seeing .925 as opposed to 9.25 which is a common fake mistake but we believe this is not a fake because of the backstory. The 14k stamp denoting the yellow gold on the front is not unusual but is a different style of stamp from the .925 stamp implying that a different person/processor added the gold is interesting. The gold seems to have only been on the front where it is rubbing off from 45 years of ware. That makes sense because of the softness of gold. This is also not just gold plating or it would be tarnished/corroded much more around the edges and the use of a plated piece on the front of a silver ring would look completely different. Not to mention, I don’t think the piece on the front would be able to be silver soldered to the front after plating…I’ve never used plated material so I’m not sure if it could be done…but the point is that plated material is indicative of a fake and this piece I feel is not plated 14k on the front…I think it looks like a sweat soldered thin gauge 14k gold sheet was added to the front raised panel post cast and then stamped before bougeing it round and then soldered at the rings back seam…Lastly the stamping! I am seeing several different stamps being used here as opposed to the ring that @Jason posted which looked like all the work was done by the same stamp manufacturer…The cloud stamp is all one strike unlike some of the genuine cloud stamp pictures in the book…your cloud has a higher middle and the first and third drops are shorter than the other three which doesn’t match most of the choices I’ve seen here and on the net…but then if you look at the front stamping it all looks like it was stamped into a flat wax ring blank with a stamp tool and both sides match exactly which doesn’t happen in hand stamp work , there is always a little variation as you go along (there is some variation on your rings front stamping but it’s just from uneven ware as it gets rubbed over 45 years of being worn) This style of stamping would imply that it’s a lost wax created base component and mass produced with small post casting additions like the gold overlay on the front and then the base piece they start with being Sterling. The hard to read portion looks a bit like a combo of copyright stamps and a 9 .25 and initials and a word (which is a look similar to the ring @Jason posted but his looks very normal and legit but yours looks similar to what forgeries look like and the stamp style is yet another brand or manufacturer. It’s kind of a conundrum of styles and techniques but the story makes us want to make it true to being tribally/artist affiliated but a lot of the signs of it being real as opposed to being a non native maker are not there…I will keep looking and comparing the different stuff though…I hope this helps🤔


To me it looks like a trademark sign the r with a circle around it…what do you think???

The other left mark is an abreviation for Arizona Az but in a different font the name is Ac Case or maybe Fc Case… reg. trademark symbol and then Az for place of origin…not to mention those earrings look very much like they are small batch hand stamped and hand fabricated pieces with no casting involved in the process…just stamping cutting and sweating and then an overall stepped polishing job.

Hi Jason: I had not seen these. Just the two items I mentioned in my original post. Did do more snooping today and like you said, there are a few more pieces out there. One seller claims VC worked for TC case prior to contracting with Kopavi. I never read that anywhere, but that means nothing. I put my more abrasive polishing cloth to the ring though and it may very well say TC Case and Co but seems to be italicized rather than the block letters I’ve usually seen. Found a few pieces with the italicized style on past LiveAuctioneers items. It also seems TC Case had NA’s hallmark their items as well, similar to some of Teme’s Jewelry.

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It may be a teeny tiny copyright symbol…maybe?

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I am learning so much from all of you. When the ring came in the mail, I thought all the different fonts were weird on the inside. There were just a lot of oddities about them. I knew it was odd on the outside as I’ve seen it many times but still loved it.

You are greatly helping me hone my skills though for when I make an expensive purchase. And for that I thank you all!

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Maybe what you have there is an early piece by bc that was maybe the line that inspired these obviously newer versions of the same style and bc licensed his design out to tc case $ co…does this happen in the NA jewelry world?