MYSTERY BEAR CLAW COLLECTION





Hello new friends!

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.

Thank you so much for any insight.

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What a beautiful and unique set.
I hope you can find out more info.

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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.

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Interesting piece. I’m assuming the bear drawing is scrimshaw?

You may know this, but it is illegal to sell bear claws in a number of states. If you are going to sell you need to check.

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Thank you, I agree, it takes my breath away!!!

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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!

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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!

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Good you checked, not everyone does. It’s also illegal to sell any black bear parts, not just Grizzly, in many states. But you seem to be on top of that.

But yes, very interesting items. I admit I am not a fan of bear claws in jewelry, but that’s just me. But the scrimshaw is awesome!

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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.

I’m sure it’ll be interesting to delve further.

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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!!! :flushed::tada::clap::clap::clap::clap:

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side by side

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Wow you’re right! I also reached out to a scrimshaw expert who pointed out the initials “D.G.” Are etched at the base of the bear if that helps anyone on here!

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Thanks for sharing! All of the pieces are very interesting and unique.

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Check out D.G Christensen. See if his signature matches the initials on your piece.

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:heart::heart::heart::heart::heart: looove the inlay in the claws.

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What a gorgeous set! I love the scrimshaw and the claws! And that bracelet is amazing! Please keep us posted on what you find out.

Incredible Art, what privilege to own something so unique and it has to be rare right? Maybe should be in a Museum.