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Bell Trading Post
CSB119 - $75
Paula says - "Repousse is method of embossing metal by stamping and hammering a design from the back to produce a three-dimensional bas-relief surface then polishing the front. This bracelet has traditional Native American symbols including rain clouds, arrows, dogs, tepees and thunderbirds."
About Copper - Copper is a pure elemental metal, CU on the periodic table. It is reddish brown and is soft enough so that it is malleable which means you can shape and bend it fairly easily. Copper oxidizes and darkens when it comes in contact with the air in the environment. There are many who swear by the health benefits of wearing copper (copper bracelet manufacturers) while others have the opposite viewpoint. Read more about copper . . .
The Bell Trading Company was founded in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1935 by Jack Michelson amd his wife Mildred. They sold Native American Indian jewelry at various tourist locations in the southwestern United States until the late 1980s. Their main competitor was Maisel's Indian Trading Post. The Bell company got its name from Jack's wife, whose maiden name was Bell. In 1972 the company name was changed to Sunbell Corp. and items including giftware and moccasins were added to the jewelry inventory. The types of jewelry sold by Bell Trading included sterling silver, nickel silver, gold, and copper. Over the years numerous hallmarks were used on items sold by Bell Trading. The hallmarks typically included the image of a bell or that of an arrow sign post with a bell sign hanging from it. Shown here a just a few of Bell Trading Company's hallmarks.
During my early years, I accompanied my parents on trips every year, usually to Florida to escape the harsh midwest winters but also out west on summer road trips. During those trips, I accumulated the type of tourist grade Native American jewelry that a kid would buy and now, years later those items are referred to as being "Fred Harvey" style. Fred Harvey was an entrepreneur who created an avenue for Indians to make and sell jewelry to the tourists. Jewelry of the Fred Harvey era has typical Indian kitsch of arrows, tomahawks, tipis, thunderbirds and so on and was most produced from 130- throughout the 1950s.
You can read more about Fred Harvey here.
From childhood through college and beyond, I had an eye for that type of jewelry and collected it, yet rarely wore it !! About the only jewelry I wore for years was a Swiss Army watch and my wedding band. My Mother, also a jewelry lover, gave me a few vintage Native American pieces she had picked up. That really got me interested in older pawn items.Yet I was a collector, not a wearer.
Then suddenly, about ten years ago I started wearing first one Native American item, then another and soon I felt incomplete if I didn't wear at least one bracelet and necklace or pendant. Now I wear rings, belt buckles, watches and all things Native American. My favorites include lapis lazuli items, water bird pendants, Hopi bracelets and pendants, anything with Man in the Maze on it, silver beads, heishi of all kinds, storyteller bracelets, rings of all kinds, all kinds of fetishes and more.
Once I started working here at Horsekeeping and they added Native American jewelry to the website, my personal collection quickly outgrew my jewelry box.....so much so that I had to make a rule. Maybe some of you have done this with the clothes or shoes or purses in your closet. For every new item I bring into my personal collection, I must trade out at least one item. I've been doing this for years and now have quite a box of items that I will list in my own section "Paula's Collection".
When I first began collecting Native American items, I didn't realize the importance of knowing the artist's name - if I liked something and wanted it, I bought it. But now with all of our personal contacts with artists, our reference library, and our interest in providing as much information as we can to our customers, we are all very interested in finding out the artist's name, relatives, and tribal affiliation. So I'll do my best to give you the most information I can on each piece.
I hope you enjoy browsing through our pawn shop - and Paula's Collection - it is a treasure trove of American History!
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