And,at what point did you decide that a “map” might be useful & interesting?
I’d been using a local pawn shop to get a few buffalo nickles,indian head pennies,etc. when I came across an old photo of Plains area man (Cheyenne?)wearing silver rings on every finger & really liked the style. Would snag one or two every month or so & chatting with folks.They started putting bits aside until it became “enabling”. lol
The best(worst?)example was last fall when I just stopped in to say Hi & saw the owner weighing HANDFULS of silver & went WOW! He said “Nah,check this out.” 35 in.squash blossom style,peyote bird design,w/naja & 5 side pieces set w/turq. It took 24 hrs. to decide to make him an offer…which he accepted.
Btw,why I use “newpawn”…lol
And,at what point did you decide that a “map” might be useful & interesting?
My trip down the turquoise path started in 1976 when I took a long driving trip to California with a boyfriend. We stopped by the side of the road in Arizona, where a guy had a sign out front saying “jewelry for sale”. He had a picture on his wall, he was posing with Elvis in a white jumpsuit–he was holding a belt the guy made for him. We bought a ring with a nice hunk of turquoise–35 years later I had it remade into the fish pin (see pic).
I’m a retired researcher and have always enjoyed finding information, pre- and post-internet. It’s frustrating and a LOT of fun. The people here are great and generous with their knowledge too!
Ooh! Sounds nice! Do you still have it - let us see it!
I had always loved Turquoise jewelry, but it was very scarce in WI when I was growing up. Accepted a job in the 1980’s in the middle of the Navajo Nation. Was shown how to make Turquoise/coral/silver and other jewelry by some of my Navajo co-workers.
I am still making it, over 30 years later.
I love searching for treasurers at garage sales, pawn shops and flea markets.
My mother and father led me down the turquoise trail on summer vacations to the West starting in the late 60s. They first bought me rings and then in 1976, a turquoise buckle and watchband, that I still wear all the time. We’re a horse family, so it fits right in with our life style. In the late 80s, I introduced Indian jewelry to my girlfriend, who is now my beautiful bride of 27 years. Now, our college-age children have their own jewelry too. We’re doing our best to keep the fire burning…
My mother wore a Maisel’s dragon’s breath ring every day for 20 years…when she cut her finger, I got to wear it… It was a bit oval from getting her hand caught in the wringer of the washing machine. I then found out the little black bracelet in her jewelry box, was actually tarnished silver, waaaaay past patina, was one my father had purchased about 1939, tourist piece which I started wearing about 1970.
I’ve always been fascinated by NA culture, as it was part of our family story that we have a NA ancestor in my mother’s family tree. I didn’t start collecting jewelry until i was in my 20s, but the first pieces i ever bought myself were turquoise. I met my husband when he was working in a family owned gallery in old town Albq pitching rugs. He had an extensive collection of pottery, baskets, and books, and knew many prominent artists at the time. We lived in NM for 13 years, and i miss it every day. After moving back to MO, i didn’t buy any NA jewelry for many years, but once i got the itch, i realized the market had changed quite a bit since we left NM. I needed to do a little homework to make sure i knew what i was buying online, since finding “the good stuff” isn’t common in stores where we live. I feel i have pretty good instincts on what’s right and what’s not, but i still have a lot to learn!
I just found this site today and and reading everything! I grew up with turquoise and stones of all kinds: my grandfathers were both silversmiths. I have lots of pieces they collected, and made, but realized too late that I needed to learn much more from them! I am hoping to find out as much as I can, and hopefully identify what I have.
Which “dragons breath”,the opal or the art glass? I have a ring set w/the glass;marquise cut,nearly an inch long,stamped sterling inside & w/sunburst & arrow outside. Been wondering about buffing the scratching…
typical Harvey Era art glass, purchased about 1952. This glass was basically sandblasted from house work. Took it ti a lapidary shop and had it buffed up and it was the difference with clear ice and ice with lots of air bubbles in it.
My elderly friend, who always wore about 20 at any one time, gave me a Zuni fetish necklace in the 90s. I stopped complimenting her stuff because she would try to give it to me.
I have my Mother to thank for instilling in me her admiration and love of all things Native American, …She began the journey making costume jewelry at flea markets in 1976. That same year my folks decided to open a small shop in Alexandria VA that specialized in Native American Jewelry and Crafts. Our wares included Navajo, Zuni & Hopi jewelry, as well as Jemez pottery, sand paintings and other Native American items; from pinion incense to Kachina dolls… We were Proud members of the IACA from 1980 until close of business in 1992… and I’d like to share; if I may, a few photos of this time, circa 1977-78.
***Note 4 Stone Bib necklace on Mother in the article & Photo below
I am so extremely blessed to have had such a rewarding experience.
I’ve always loved jewelry and turquoise is my favorite color…the color of the ocean, the color of the West, a color representative of so many things I love. I made my first trip to the West in 2000 and bought a pawn cuff at a tourist shopand have been hooked ever since. I keep an eye out and buy pieces every time we travel West, and I love going through flea market and garage sale boxes to find those little treasures…it’s a great treasure hunt, especially living in the Southeast where there’s less of it around.
Looks like I’m in great compay here with such knowledgeable folks, and I am enjoying learning.
Supporting Native artists and their craft and skill by educating myself on how to appreciate and identify these items properly is an honor.
Still have your first " trophy" ? As you’ve learned more,have you narrowed your hunt or more open to other styles,designs,materials…?
I tended to dismiss chip inlay until I got to handle a good piece & saw the work involved.
Hi, I found my first piece years ago @ my local Goodwill! It’s a lovely ring signed by Nila Cook Johnson. I thought it was so beautiful, I decided to do some research on it and one thing led to another… I came across a photograph from approximately the early 1900s of what I believe to be a Navajo woman with her hair tied up like two buns on the side of her head & wearing a “squash blossom” type of necklace. It was a simple necklace but something about it made my heart pitter patter. I love looking at those vintage photographs, I feel like I learned from them also!
Turquoise People has also been a tremendous help I always try to do my own research but sometimes I get stumped and I have to reach out!
If you’re considering a piece,what catches your interest first?
What causes the final decision…style,age,artist,price?
Since my “pusher” buys by weight,he sells by the gram as well.
The stone, if I’m looking for stone. I like nuggets and sea-foam texture, and all the shades of green and blue with interesting matrix. The plain stones are not as intriguing. Then patina–I like the look of age and use, even if there are a few nicks. Final decision is in this order for me; age, price, artist–if I didn’t like the style I wouldn’t have looked at it in the first place!
I’m in Michigan and do a lot of shopping online. Happy for you that you have a local “pusher”!!
The stones call me. I consider myself a Stone keeper. They talk I listen. I love when they call me. I have many that are mine and many I know are meant for others in my life be it friends, family or strangers crossing paths with me. And I part with them. But I love each and every one and take great care of each. I believe they are alive. Yes I am a crazy Stone keeper lady! !
I like em old & dirty! I remember winning an online auction for a beautiful turquoise cuff, it had fantastic patina on the listing. Well, when it arrived it looked brand spanking new w/a very sweet note from the seller about how she spent hours polishing it.
I almost cried.
I did appreciate her sweet gesture, but I make sure if I purchase something online I kindly specify do not clean it, I love patina.
lol…yeah,it’s fun to see what’s come in to the shop but it’s hard to let stuff go. Prices are so low,it’s like watching money blow down the sidewalk. Very well made squash blossom,18in,strung on a chain,each of 8 side pieces set w/smallish,but nice,stones & 5 on the naja…$100.