I have recently come into stewardship of this incredible bear claw set with turquoise inlay & there is only one hallmark on the ring that is identified as Alvin Sosolda. He studied under Bernard Sawahoya, master silversmith, but the estate sale manager believes it was more than one artist involved since Alvin doesn’t have any turquoise jewelry online if record.
Is there any other way of identifying the potential other makers or anything else about this set? I tried reaching out to Alvin, with no luck & Bernard passed in 2011. I just want to try and gather as much information on this in the hopes I can honor the history behind such a special creation.
Hello and welcome,
I suspect you’re on the wrong track in identifying this material. First, it’s not Hopi, nothing like the tradition and output of Bernard Dawahoya or of Sosolda, who’s listed as Pima but did overlay. What led you to consider Sosolda? The stamping shown above on the ring is, I think, decorative versus a hallmark, but in any case it’s not Sosolda’s hallmark. Maybe you didn’t show the hallmark?
Certainly unusual, especially with the turquoise inlay in the claws. I hope you’ll enjoy it.
I believe so. It’s etched into an elk antler section & the bear claw is actually black bear as opposed to grizzly, the estate sale company had to do some of the initial research before they could clear it to sell, so we’re ok on that front.
Thank you for your input, the head curator just recommended that I reach out to a couple museums in Seattle & Alaska to see about it possibly being a collab between a Plains or Alaskan artist!
The actual hallmark on the back of the ring is Sosolda’s and he married into Hopi as a Pima, with tradition being the male takes on female tribal tradition & while he can’t sell under the Hopi tribe, he did study under Dawahoya, which is why I included both. A picture for reference. Thank you for your comment!
Thanks for adding the photo. Your ring mark is similar to Sosolda’s hallmark but not the very same. The arms and other aspects are different: he did a thunderbird-like, wedge-shaped arm, and the head shape and legs’ relationship to torso aren’t like his. Given this, and the total disconnect from AS jewelry, again I’m certain it’s from a different hand.
Oh wow, this changes everything, THANK YOU for pointing that out!!! Someone at the Heard museum said it could also possibly be from an Alaskan tribe so I will most definitely do more research, again THANK YOU!!!
Just to add to the confusion, I have that same mark 4 times on this Timm Lewis pin/pendant. I was curious about them looking like Alvin’s hallmark so I ask. Timm said he uses them to represent his 4 grandparents lineages. He also said that he bought the stamp at Thunderbird Jewelry Supply. Also we found that a man named Phillip Morse Jr. uses it between his initials.