Bell Trading Company
Paula says - "In my opinion, this vintage turquoise ring shows all the design characteristics and workmanship of being Navajo made. But because there is no hallmark that we can attribute to a specific artist we can't legally sell it as Native American made - read more."
About Bell Trading Company
The Bell Trading Company was founded in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1935 by Jack Michelson and 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 (the first one is the mark stamped on the ring shown above).
According to trademark records the mark "Bell Jewelry" (top row second from left) was first used in 1935, and the "Arrow post hanging bell sign" (top left and, bottom left) were first used in 1961.
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 (NOS, 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.
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.
Turquoise comes in all shades of blue, to blue-green and it is the natural variations in turquoise that make it appealing. The color of turquoise in American Indian jewelry ranges from brownish green to bright blue. Found in veins sandwiched in between layers of mother rock, turquoise can show some of the influence of the mother rock in its matrix or veining. The matrix colors range from blue to golden brown to black and sometimes with golden flecks. Many people prefer turquoise with matrix over clear stones. Read more about stones.
About Native American Rings
Southwest Native American rings can be made from many materials but usually are sterling silver alone or embellished with turquoise, coral, jet, mother of pearl, petrified wood, abalone, lapis lazuli, jasper, gaspeite, malachite, spiny oyster, tiger eye, white buffalo stone, onyx, opal, bear claws and much more.
The styles of Southwest Native American rings are many and varied including bands, single stone, shadowbox, cigar band, pictorial inlay, cobblestone, corn row and mosaic inlay, storyteller, sandcast and tufa cast, cluster, petit point, needlepoint, snake eye, overlay, feather, leaf, channel inlay and others.
NavajoNavajo rings are typically a sterling silver band, often heavy and/or elaborate. The band can be silver only or have stones that are set with various types of bezels. For more information on bezels, read my article Types of Bezels. If a Navajo ring is inlaid, the inlay pieces are usually separated by silver channels.
Zuni rings are usually either stone-on-stone inlays (no silver channels in between the pieces), snake rings, snake eye, petit point or needlepoint.
Hopi rings are most often sterling silver overlays with contrasting (oxidized) and textured backgrounds.
Read more in my blog post: Southwest Native American Rings
The US Department of the Interior Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 and its recent Amendments require that items described as Native American or Indian be made by an enrolled member of a federally recognized tribe. Furthermore, government regulations suggest that all attributions include the Native American Indian's name, tribe and federal tribal enrollment number. Because it is impossible to identify the artist for many vintage items, even if they are authentic Indian made items, we cannot and will not use the words Native American or Indian in association with such pieces.
LLC - Definitions of Jewelry Age and Condition
|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.|