Now a Bit Jealous of My NIece's Slave Bracelet! Can I Get Value for Her?

My niece knows how much I love Native American made jewelry. She constantly reminds me she is not a huge fan of jewelry, and I tell her but you have to at least appreciate the artistry of it. Last night she said she wanted to show me this picture of this piece that had been her grandmother’s that she thought I might like. I was drooling! LOL The slave bracelet is stamped HBY which appears to be made by the Zuni artist Henry Yawakia and I would presume this piece is from the 70s. Could you give me an idea of the value of this for her? She had said she was going to take it into our jewelers to have it cleaned up and I told her she may not want to do that! After a brief discussion, she said she doesn’t prefer shiny and flashy anyway so I am going to give her a few small polishing cloths and she will lightly polish it herself. In addition, she said she had a turquoise one too, but it broke and she’s not sure now but thinks she may have thrown it out years ago! I told her if she finds it, she better let me know and we will get that fixed now that I have contacts! Thanks so much for any feedback you can provide!

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The bracelet is very pretty but doubtful that is was done by the Zuni artist Henry Yawakia who signed H. B.Y in very fancy capital script (and with zuni) as well. If you google slave bracelets signed HBY you will see alot of hits for an artist called Harry B Yazzie. I am just ballparking value but probably about $200. If it had turquoise in it, then may $300-350. But people who are in the business of valuing will better able to give you a good estimate.

Thanks! My first thought was a Yazzie, but when I looked in my book and found HBY attributed to Henry Yawakia who I thought also signed with a block H.B.Y. I thought maybe it was him and did not see the signature for Harry B Yazzie.

Nobody goes near the hard talk about aesthetics, because it’s both personal and can step on toes. But: feedback, since you invited it:

This sort of material is repugnant to me, in large part because of the name, but also because of the jewelry concept itself, which is not remotely within Navajo taste, style, or history but is instead some “exotic” idea foisted onto Navajo output in those years. Any day of the week I’d rather see someone buy a decent Navajo/Pueblo item, whether traditional or modern.

Value, I’ve seen sets sold on Ebay ranging from two digits to the high $100s, maybe $200. I saw a listing for maybe this maker, Navajo:


Well I appreciate your honesty and candor. People often think I’m a bit harsh and rude, nope, just straight to the point and fail to take the time to soften or sweeten the message.


I have to agree with @chicfarmer on this one; “slave” bracelets do not appeal to me at all. I think they date pretty much exclusively to the 70’s, and I think I even read in a book once that they were one of the ill-advised styles to come out during this period. However, if it’s a legit native-made piece, I respect everyone’s right to their own style and personal opinion.


The last one of these that came my way I had taken apart and reconfigured into a ring, pendant, and cuff bracelet. I sell jewelry at a charity thrift shop and spending the money to have the work done paid off in the end–I think I got $175 for the bracelet, $75 for the ring and maybe $65 or so for the pendant!