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!
About Effie Calavaza
Zuni artist Effie Calavaza, from Zuni, New Mexico, is renowned for her snake designs. She learned silversmithing from her husband Juan Calavaza and began making her own designs in 1956. Her pieces are prized and collected throughout the world.
Indian Snake Symbolism
For some Native American tribes the snake represents abundant rainfall and fertility and is depicted as as lightning or a lightning arrow. Some tribes use the snake as a healing image or for swiftness in battle. The snake does not symbolize anything negative or treacherous. Snakes are rarely used in Navajo jewelry but they are often seen in Zuni jewelry.
We here in Colorado live with snakes - they are part of the landscape and ecosystem. Since our climate is semi-arid, we welcome the abundant rainfall the snake might bring.
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.
Turquoise is associated with the sky,
and bringing sky energy to earth. It is known as a master healer stone as it is
believed to help speed the healing process. It is also thought that turquoise
can help promote honest and clear communication from the heart.
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.|