In the center is a hogan; to the left is a woman weaving; in front are two Churra sheep and a horse. Background is textured with sterling silver dust.
Here is a man in a horse-drawn wagon that appears to made from an old car chassis. In the background are two buttes, on is a "mitten butte" so called because of the thumb sticking up.
Paula says - "What stories of Indian life this sterling silver overlay bracelet can tell! Extraordinary detail and a real treasure."
Here is a Navajo silversmith at work with a woman weaving in the background.
About Churra Sheep
Native Americans were first introduced to Churra sheep brought to North America by colonizing Spaniards in the 1500s. The Navajo proved to be very good herders and weavers and Navajo-Churro sheep became a main source of their negotiable wealth. Sheep images in Native American art represent charity, patience, gentleness and riches.
What is Overlay?
With silver overlay, there are two layers of silver - the top layer is a scene, figures, or symbols meticulously cut out and then placed over a solid silver bottom layer.
The bottom layer is the background behind the cutouts and is traditionally darkened (oxidized) for contrast. Navajo silversmiths typically leave the background smooth while Hopi usually etch the background with hashmarks.
The two layers are then sweated together - the silver is heated until the two layers meld.
The result is a 3-D picture with great depth and interest.
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!
100% solid silver won't tarnish but it is too soft to use for making jewelry - it could easily be scratched, dented and bent. Sterling silver has a small amount of one or more other metals usually copper, added to the silver. To be called sterling silver, the alloy must contain at least 92.5% pure silver. Sterling silver alloy is harder than pure silver but the added metals also can cause discoloration or tarnish.
NOTE: Items in our Vintage Shop are either USED or NEW. They might come from inheritances, estate sales, private collections, and store liquidations. Many items are brand new (, New Old Stock) and in perfect condition while others may show tarnish, scratches and other signs of use. Major issues will be described in detail and shown in photos. Vintage Shop items are sold as described and are not returnable
Horsekeeping LLC - Definitions of Jewelry Age and Condition
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|A dark or colored film of oxidation that forms naturally on metal exposure to air and other elements. It is often valued for its aesthetically pleasing appearance.|
|30 years or older.|
|New Old Stock. Retail store inventory from at least 10 years ago.|
|An item that has been used.|