Robert Becenti (?) cuff with unusual turquoise

I think this cuff may be a piece by Robert Becenti and I’m guessing from the 70-80’s time frame. It is 1” tall and weighs 69.9 grams. It has seven small turquoise cabs with a deep blue with black looking matrix.
The closest turquoise that I own is a cuff that was sold to me as Red Mountain and I will post that next.
Today’s questions are 1) is this really a Robert Becenti cuff? 2) what kind of turquoise? 3) what type of value? I have seen a couple listings that are in the $1800.00 range. Is this accurate?
Thanks everyone for sharing your knowledge. I forgot to mention the size of the turquoise. Each cab is approximately 8mm by 6 mm.


Robert Becenti is famous for two things, being the father of Floyd Becenti and his inlay storyteller concho belt. Most likely this is a cast piece, maybe Running Bear manufacturing?


Thanks. That’s a pretty inlay belt. Do you have any idea what the turquoise in the cuff might be?
I woke up thinking about this post. I certainly didn’t mean to insult Mr. Becenti by attributing the wrong thing to him.
I am still curious about the turquoise. And I’m still trying to find something similar to the cuff online. I checked the shop with no luck so on to other sites.

I contacted Running Bear shop like you suggested and have learned a lot from a nice man there.
The cuff was made by a member of the Benally family (don’t know the specific artist yet) about 15 years ago. It is not cast: all handmade with Kingman Turquoise. He left me with the impression that he would be back in touch when he found out which member of the Benally family.
Thanks for sending me in the right direction. It’s good to learn new stuff, especially with all the erroneous information on the internet! I appreciate your help.


That is interesting. They probably get asked frequently because of the RB hallmark. This style of bracelet when handmade is done by sawing out the shapes on the side and also creating those skinny rug patterns. When the bracelet is turned upside down you should be able to see through it, not these lines. Ask him why it is like that? Also at the terminals you should be able to see a low dome wire on top of a thin plate, can you show an image of the ends?


I have taken more pictures. The lines that you mentioned look like they weren’t cut completely but they are visible on the inside. There are loops of wire on each side. At first he said the turquoise was Chinese but then in a later email changed it to Kingman. When I was looking at cabs on Nevada Gem and Durango it looked like some of their nice spiderwebbed American and Chinese. Didn’t find any Kingman that looked that dark. What is your opinion? Are we even sure that the hallmark is RB?

Can anyone help me find something comparable to this cuff? I have been looking for days and can find nothing that looks like this. It seems familiar, like somewhere long ago I saw something similar. I’m talking 1960’s-1970’s, which does not jive at all with the info that the Running Bear shop provided.
Any information will be appreciated! Thanks.


I will keep this on my radar. “saw cut” don’t always make it into titles or descriptions I’m finding and it’s more of a visual challenge to spot anything similar scanning image search results and dealer stock

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Thanks Steve. I’ve tried all sorts of descriptions, checked Pinterest, checked a bunch of Native American sites, and looked up lots of initials in reference books and then checked examples of their work. Looked through turquoise books trying to see something like it. On a positive note, I did find a picture of a coral naja like mine that said it was made in 1975.
Maybe I’ll get lucky and one of us will stumble across the answer. I appreciate your help.
I found something with the edge-sort of.

I have found a cuff like Jason made reference to and will attach a screen shot. I have also added a couple of outdoor pictures of my cuff because I think the turquoise is worth a second look. I will appreciate any help identifying it. Thanks

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This is thee cuff @Jason

The cuff in your hand? I would not call that Bisbee.

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Do you have any idea what it might be?

other than the cabs are small and a few of them showing color shift from blue to greenish blue, these looks like top quality Cloud Temple material. We have another name for this kind “Wu Lan Hua”, which mean deep blue spiderweb. If these cabs were not backed, each of them will be about 10 Ct and 1800 USD in total isn’t crazy. :grinning:


I just knew in my gut that these were good. I always feel happy when I wear that bracelet. Thank you for your input. That helped my “retirement fund “ grow in value. :sparkling_heart:

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Many, many months later I have finally gotten to the bottom of the history of this cuff. It was made by the Running Bear shop as @Jason originally suggested. A young lady by the name of Courtney Elkins Marquez who’s family runs the shop identified the cuff as a piece made by them. She also showed the pictures around and found out that the maker was Ray Yazzie.
I still love it and wear it and my Cloud Mountain rings with my Bisbee and Red Mountain pieces. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


The saw style is called “Step Cut” and it’s done with traditional hand fabrication in half round wire with a jewelers saw,. It wasn’t around in the 60’s and 70’s. First examples of this type of work with stepped saw work in 1/2 round wire were produced in my Jewelry studio in Albuquerque the mid-late 80’s.

The first bolo is designed and handmade by yours truly at my bench in late 86 or early 87. The stone is natural Cerrillos. The piece is completely hand fabricated (hand made) No templates were used. This piece was created organically, starting with the 24 ga. hand sawn bezel, and wrapping sheet and 1/2 round wire on separate layers to create the layered shadow box effect, then going in with files to sculpt, then hand cut with a 4/0 saw blade to create the ‘step cut’ rain and cloud patterns before the piece is finally assembled and hand soldered onto a domed reticulated sterling back plate.

The second piece was created from my design by my then shop Foreman, Bruce Morgan using the same technique, and one of the finest Morenci stones I’ve ever seen. Bruce added another dimension and his own touch to the work by cutting a border into the reticulated backplate and overlaying it onto another piece of sheet. This is still one of my favorite pieces ever!

I still have these pieces, and photographed them for this post this evening. Hopefully these post in the order I think they will.

Our workshop made a lot of high end jewelry in this style in the late 80’s and early 90’s. The style caught on like wildfire, and for a while it was the hottest thing going.

Frank and Rita (Brihilda) Coriz worked in my shop during this period as did Herbert Begay, Austin Garcia, and many others.

Jewelry and photographs - Copyright 1986-2020 M. M. Rogers, all rights exclusively reserved.


Thank you for your wonderful information. Your bolos are awesome and you certainly didn’t exaggerate in your description of the Morenci! :heart_eyes:

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Hi, I was looking to ID some turquoise beads similar in color to those on your cuff. A eally blue blue with black matrix. Did you settle on Cloud Temple from China? Are there Southwestern mines that produced that color?

I ask because we have a (medical) need to sell things from the estate of an uncle. He was a dealer of Native American jewelry up until the mid 1980’s.

Its currently late in the day so these photos aren’t the best. If I hear back I can get some better shots. Also my honey is cracking one apart to see the insides. I will photograph that, too.

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We decided mine was Cloud Mountain but there are also American mines with similar colors. Also, I think I saw a hole in one of the beads. If so, why don’t you also photograph the drill holes. That tells whether they were drilled mechanically or by an old hand pump drill. Some good pictures in natural light will help a lot. @Jason would you please give them your opinion too.