We last visited NM in 2018. While wandering around in ABQ, we stumbled upon Skip Maisel’s Indian Jewelry & Crafts store on Central Avenue SW. Wow! All of the turquoise jewelry, pottery, and NA crafts were incredible! We spent about 1.5 hours there. After much deliberation, I finally chose a ring from all of the cases of beautiful turquoise jewelry. Months later, I read an article announcing that Skip Maisel was retiring and had already sold the building. Sad news but, I was happy that I got to visit this iconic store before it permanently closed. Each time I wear this ring, I’m transported back in time to that special place and memory. The ring is hallmarked Bennie Ration, Sterling and has an eagle claw pictograph. (The turquoise stone is gorgeous ~ doesn’t look like it photographed well.)
Wow! If that’s how beautiful the turquoise looks in a photo you think doesn’t do it justice, I can only imagine how stunning it must be in person. Overall just a gorgeous ring. I think you made a great choice
And how lovely to have such a nice memento of your very memorable visit to Skip Maisel’s store. It sounds like it was a true treasure. I’m glad you had a chance to see the store in person before it closed.
@chamekke Thank you! The turquoise color actually looks better on my cellphone screen than my laptop. I’m not a photographer, lol. I’d never seen so much NA jewelry together in one place. Beautiful stuff. The saleslady was so patient and helpful.
It’s a real treasure! That stone is breathtaking❤️
I have an empty box from Maisel’s that I keep my turquoise stash in.
@Stracci Thank you!! I wore my ring on my finger out-of-the-store, lol, so I didn’t get a box. Yours looks like the perfect turquoise stash box .
I love keeping some of the boxes. Among others, I still have one from my favorite pawn store in Flagstaff that changed hands, one from Blair’s Dinnebito Trading Post in Page, AZ that closed, and Ogg’s Hogan which is closing (nooooo). We never made it to Maisel’s. I’ve been to ABQ numerous times, but shopped other places. Last time was the summer of '21, and it had recently closed. Bummer.
Beautiful stone. Wonder what mine… Turquoise Mountain? Kingman? Pilot Mountain? Blue Gem? Who knows; I would have to throw a dart and see if it sticks?
Could it be Royston?
here is its twin! @Patina…I like your stone better
Maaaaybe He seems to work with a lot of different stones. Shows what I (don’t ) know, I would have never guessed that the stone in @nanc9354’s link is Royston. Here’s some info about him.
@nanc9354 Wow, thanks, that ring looks similar to mine! It’s very possible that the nice saleslady told me the type of turquoise. But, I no longer have any idea what it is. That stone really caught my eye!
@Ziacat Thank you for that link with info about Bennie Ration. Goodness, he learned silversmithing at an early age! Talented man. That’d be sweet if it were Royston turquoise. I’m not familiar enough with Blue Gem or Turquoise Mountain turquoise to even consider if that’s what it could be. Guess it could be my default turquoise - Kingman .
My latest cuff bracelet. Checked out Garland’s based on suggestions from the Native American Jewelry Forum on Facebook and found this lovely cuff just waiting for someone. I gave it two days, then knew I’d best buy it before someone else does, there just wasn’t anything else that grabbed me and it was in the back pages. Made by Tawma Lalo who used to watch his grandfather while he was making jewelry, when he died he left Tawma some stones and it looks like Tawma knows what he’s doing. It’s Turquoise from Cloud Mountain, Hubei Province, China. It’s been awhile as far as recognizing the symbolism, so if anyone can tell me what the two figures represent as well as what’s next to them at the end of that side of cuff I’d appreciate it. I’m thinking water related and the other side is all repeating lightning?
It’s absolutely gorgeous! What a beautiful stone. And I love Garland’s. When something really grabs you, you’ve got to get it. I did the same thing this summer at an Indian Art Market at a museum here in IN. If you love it, buy it before it’s gone!
I’m not sure about the symbols. It looks like on the left in the top picture (and the last pic) the figure might be a Kachina. I have a book on Hopi jewelry, and I should have a chance later today to look at it for anything about the other symbols.
Congrats on your beautiful cuff!
Hi, I think it’s the Long Hair Kachina. I didn’t know Tawma Lalo did silverwork! A fantastic cuff, congrats. He’s a younger, well-known kachina carver (who Garland’s also sells), I have one of his. He’s also the same person as Raynard Lalo; Tawma is the Hopi version.
Here’s a Long hair, for reference.
@SilverWolf Wowee! That’s a magnificent cuff. That Cloud Mountain turquoise is a beauty. Glad the cuff found you (as I like to say). The figures look like katsinas to me. No idea about the symbolism of the other wonderful designs. Hopefully, others here will have insight about that.
I feel your nostalgia for Maisel’s and that’s a beautiful ring, BTW. I have a similar experience with the passage of time.
My family and I have taken many summer vacations to Estes Park, CO since the 1960s. There were two NA shops in the Big Thompson Canyon we always looked forward to visiting - Glen Comfort Store and Big Thompson Indian Village, which opened in 1930 and 1971, respectively. Both shops were very charming and carried high-end jewelry, rugs, pottery, kachinas, etc. The Glen Comfort Store owner passed away and the building was demolished and replaced by condominiums in 2012. Big Thompson Indian Village was destroyed in a canyon flood in 2014 and never rebuilt.
Glen Comfort Store
Big Thompson Indian Village
Another Estes Park favorite was the original Lazy B Chuckwagon Supper & Western Show, which opened in 1960 and sadly closed in 2005. The ranch was eventually demolished for a housing development.
On top of that, in 2021, a wildfire in Rocky Mountain National Park destroyed Moraine Park riding stables, which had been there for decades and was our favorite area for trail riding in the park.
We still vacation in Estes Park, but with the passing of these four old-time establishments into history, for our family, it forever changed the feel of our beloved Colorado town.
Thanks for sharing these pics, Tah (the horse picture is absolutely lovely). We’ve been in that area a number of times, but never stopped at those places; too bad I missed them. But we did camp in Moraine Park.
And yes, that feeling of losing these places we love leaves a little bit of an ache. Finally getting back to Four Winds Traders in Flag after a number of years, and seeing that it had changed hands and was very different, made me sad. I also had always wanted to go back to The Boardwalk in Laramie where my dad bought his Zuni snake belt buckle in '69. Finally about 13 or so years ago we were back, and it was still there, so I was excited to check it out. The owner had passed away, and his son was closing it down. It was very dusty with not much left other than a few interesting Native American items that his son didn’t know much about. Oh well.
We spent most of my childhood vacations in the Mackinaw City/St Ignace area of MI, and up into Ontario. Fortunately many of my old haunts are still there. I am always excited to be able to shop in some of the old stores, and eat in restaurants that I loved as a kid. Then in '19 we went back up into Ontario to a small town called Wawa, and the big GIANT goose (which is my avatar) was still there too! At least some things haven’t changed.
And then I remember that Ogg’s is closing… Maybe I will shed a tear or two…
Edit: ugh, I just realized you said that one of the shops was replaced with condos.
@TAH Hi ~ thanks for sharing your family memories and wonderful photos. I’ve never been to Estes Park - it looks like a beautiful vacation spot. It’s unfortunate that the 2 demolished NA shops weren’t replaced with similar businesses. You’d think that in a popular vacation spot they could still be successful and cherished. From my travel experiences, a trail riding stable in a park is a near necessity. People enjoy horseback riding & it’s a terrific way to take in the scenery. Sorry to hear your favorite one was destroyed by a wildfire. As it’s said, the only constant is change.
@TAH Ugh, another permanent closure. That’s so sad.
Yes so sad. You know I really, really hate to say this, but I think a lot of the internet shopping is part of the cause of these stores losing business and closing.