Sam Begay (?) Cuff Bracelet

I recently picked up this NA bracelet at an estate sale. I was told that it was made by Sam Begay. (I’ve come to find out that there are a lot of Begay silversmiths out there.) Please help me find out more about this lovely bracelet…When was it made? Who made it? What kind of turquoise is it? Is it very valuable? Is there a book that can tell me more about this artist? Thanks so much for your help.
~ Cynthia





5 Likes

That’s beautiful! I have a similar unsigned cuff, but I like yours even better! You are correct about the name Begay; I just posted something about a buckle I have by Joe Begay. Try googling Sam Begay jewelry and you will prob find some info. You may know this, but Begay is a Navajo name, and that certainly looks like a Navajo made cuff. Try checking for the hallmark on the Amerindien website. Not sure on where the stone is from, but there will be others on here that will know more.

3 Likes

In Gregory Schaff’s book he list a Sam Begay hallmark SB that was active from 1930s - 80s. Looks like he did work for C.G. Wallace and had some pieces in his famous Sotheby’s auction in 1975. It has characteristics similar to Pilot Mountain.

2 Likes

Oh…thank you! That gives me quite a bit of information to go on. I’ll look for the book.

1 Like

I’ve continued to research this piece. I did find the Sam Begay hallmark, but it is different than the one on this piece. Can anyone verify this hallmark as Sam Begay’s? Thanks so much.

1 Like

There must be multiple Sam Begays in the marketplace, and/or other Native makers using SB, and/or imports using an SB. There’s just too much variation in style and era for it all to be the very same Sam Begay of the 1930s, even realizing he is said to have been active for decades. There are even ca. 2022 lab opal rings touted to be by “Sam Begay”: come ON.

I owned Sam Begay buttons that won first prize in the Gallup Intertribal in 1955, and they were masterpieces of sandcast work. No hallmark or silver stamp at all! The one ca. late 30s bracelet and ring by him shown in photos in the CG Wallace catalog was silver with inlay. In short, hard to attribute this bracelet, but it’s extremely delicious and a winner regardless!

7 Likes

Thanks Ziacat. I’m on the hunt now. I’m currently working with an online appraiser. I’ll let you know what I find out. :slight_smile:

2 Likes

The appraiser thought that it might be King"s Manassa turquoise, from Southern Colorado.

1 Like

Thanks chicfarmer,

Well…I don’t think that this is a new piece. It definitely has some age on it, but you never know.

1 Like

Is “Sam Begay” the same person as " Sammie Kescoli Begay?" I’m assuming the answer is no.

1 Like

Correct, not the same person or hallmark.

1 Like

I think I found the maker of this bracelet. I contacted a long time dealer and he was kind enough to search through his books and found the hallmark. SB is the mark for Navajo silversmith Shane Beeshigaii (Native American and Southwestern Silver Hallmarks 4th Edition by Bille Hougart page 54) and the stone is Royston. I don’t have that book, so I can’t verify, but I do believe him. He’s been around a long time and I’m sure that he knows his stuff.

So, problem solved. Thanks to everyone who has helped me. The NA jewelry people are an amazing group.

3 Likes

It’s beautiful! And one thing we have all learned from this site is that figuring out what mine a stone is from is often a fun guessing game. Unless you’ve got provenance on the stone, I would suggest that Royston is still not a positive thing. Jason knows his stuff too, and he thought Pilot Mountain. Whatever the case, appears that you’ve got a gorgeous Navajo cuff with American turquoise!

1 Like

That’s so true! This stone could be from one of several, different mines and IMHO, the Pine Mountain looks the closest. I’m not sure how he decided that it came from Royston. He may have some good info that I’m not aware of. Anyway, it really has been a wonderful learning experience and I do greatly appreciate everyone’s help. :slight_smile:

2 Likes

So like I said before, I totally love your cuff. I have a very similar one (maybe thats why I love it!), except it’s narrower and the stone is smaller. I like the kind of art deco look (that’s how I describe it anyway). Mine is not signed, and I bought it at the Hopi House at Grand Canyon from their pawn section. I think it possibly has Sleeping Beauty turquoise.

1 Like