This looks to be a piece of cast costume jewelry with glued in stones. The opening behind the center stone is not normal Zuni construction at all. Most likely it’s not silver but pot metal. At least that is what I’m seeing with the limited clarity of the photos. I can’t really make out the matrix in the turquoise but I suspect it’s plastic block. I can’t find anyone using “DENISE” as a hallmark. I would call it Zuni style at best. Sorry it wasn’t better news.
Unfortunately, they do it for just the reason you mentioned, to make it more believable so you might think it is real. It is new enough that it should have a Sterling stamp on it if it was silver, and the spring clamp closure isn’t Native American at all.
That’s the spirit! We’ve all had to go through it and have pieces that are what I like to call gotcha pieces or educational pieces. The bottom line is that the more you study and compare the fewer of these type pieces you will end up with in the end. I had enough bad pieces that a few text books seemed like a good investment.
As much as I love turquoise, I have very few vintage pieces, so have very little experience in recognizing genuine turquoise . Most of my turquoise is new and from artisan exhibitions and such. After looking at all the stabilized turquoise, I picked up a small nugget of all natural unstabilized turquoise at a gem exhibition and since then, I have been looking for some real natural turquoise jewelry and learned that they are usually found in vintage NA jewelry and that led to my small collection of vintage turquoise pieces.
Tomorrow I will take pictures and I will share some here so that you all can see and tell me if I did good or bad with all of them!
We look forward to seeing your pictures. I know I have spent my “tuition” money learning the ropes and I still make mistakes.
Also, on a completely different note, some costume jewelry is quite collectible. One of my Sister’s-in-law collects vintage rhinestone jewelry and some of the signed and attributed pieces go for good money.
Read posts, look at pictures, watch YouTube videos by Native American artisans and reputable dealers like Perry Null, Durango Silver, Matt Wood, etc. But be forewarned that it can become addicting.
Just keep reading posts and looking at pictures. And asking questions. A few things I would recommend. The backs of the earrings look bumpy. Generally, Native jewelry is smooth if its silver. (can have some texture in some cases but usually flat and smooth). If you see an item where all the stones are the exact same color AND exactly alike, it might be costume. The reason being that something that is handmade will look like it was made by a human and not a machine. Read about block turquoise - it is synthetic and often used. There are lots and lots of details but if you have questions ask here as there are many people here who will have the answers.