Snake watch tips

I was in the market for turquoise and coral watch tips and always admired Effie Calavaza’s designs. Something about this set of tips spoke to me though

. The design is somewhat crude and unsigned. Definitely not Effie C but I loved the coral nuggets and the turquoise has beautiful pyrite in it. Any thoughts on age or maker?


Don’t know about maker or the year, but the turquoise looks like a nice piece of Morenci.

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I have spent hours looking at snakes, and I did not see one similar to that one. I guess someone should make a snake specialty and let us know who’s snake it is.

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I agree, Bonnie!! so many snakes, so little time!! All i can tell is that it is an older piece and unsigned which is ok with me!! Thanks for you efforts


I am totally intrigued by this thread!
A couple years ago, I was looking for a Navajo made piece as a gift for my daughter who also loves snakes. Everyone I asked at the roadside stands on or near the reservation said they didn’t do snakes as they were considered evil. I let it go and bought her a Pilot Mountain Turquoise bracelet instead (she’s a helicopter pilot).
Now I am thinking that perhaps I need to look a little harder! These snakes are beautiful!!

I wonder if snakes are mostly credited to Zuni work? Just going from memory, the only time I recall a silver snake watch cuff was on a thrift store piece the owner said was Zuni (which it appeared to be)

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:notes: “So many snakes, so little time” :notes:


I, too, think of snake motifs as indicative of Zuni jewelry due to the Navajo cultural taboos around snakes

Hmmmm…what about Simplicio?

You might consider using a “smaller brush”;like,-not everybody in Boston does ham on Easter.

Not Dan Simplicio anyway, though I can see why you’d think Simplicio. The Calavazas and Simplicios were kin and shared some design things, particularly the snake motif. Here’s a fun short read courtesy of Perry Null Trading, our gracious host:


My point wasn’t meant to be taken as a blanket statement that Navajo will never work with snake designs, just that they’re much more common in Zuni work and I believe cultural taboos account for that. In fact, though I’m certainly no expert, it’s my impression that the younger generations and those that live off the reservation put less stock in these things. Anyway, I’m not terribly surprised at SimplyDunn’s story of having difficulty finding a Navajo made piece with snakes. I have seen some pieces that I believe might be Navajo made with snakes, but they often have snake stamps instead of snakes fashioned out of silver. In fact, I have a ring which I have often wondered if it’s Navajo, Zuni, or shop made by Natives from whatever tribe happened to be working in the shop:


I totally agree with you. I prefer to buy direct from the artisan or as close as possible, so I was making inquiries about jewelry with snakes from those living on the reservation, thus those with stronger cultural views. The reception surprised me, as I did not know at the time that snakes were taboo. It didn’t cross my mind then that nearby tribes might have different views as my experiences had only been with the Dine.
BTW- I love that ring…the snake on the side is kinda “sneaky”! No hallmarks or other ID?

Thanks! Nope, no marks–here’s the back:IMG_0147

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