Ruth Lonjose, Zuni
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 Sunface Symbolism
The Sunface is found throughout Zuni art, from jewelry to weavings to pottery. It represents the sunlight and warmth that makes life and growth possible and brings playfulness and joy to children and good fortune and prosperity to families. The center of the circle represents the face of Sun. The two sections of the forehead are typically turquoise and coral and symbolize the continuous cycle of sunrise and sunset. The lower part of the Sunface is mother of pearl with rectangular eyes and round mouth of jet. Bordering the face is a circle of feathers, usually of mother of pearl and jet or coral.
Opal is a naturally blue stone with interior fracturing of light which results in a play of color. Opal is October's birthstone and is believed to make the wearer less self-conscious, thereby encouraging spontaneous action and awakening one's psyche.
(also known as precious opal) contains between 3-10% water but can be as high as 20% and this can make the stones less stable.
is considered a true synthetic or created opal – produced in controlled laboratory conditions and with the same chemical composition as natural opal but with a very low moisture content making it more durable. Lab opal has much fracturing of light and brilliant colors including blue, pink, purple, red and green. Most opal used in Native American jewelry is lab opal.
(artificial or simulated opal) is different chemically from natural and lab opal. It is made up of 80% silica and 20% resin and is an economical option to both precious and lab opal.
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.
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, Cluster, 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 Cluster.
Hopi rings are most often sterling silver overlays with contrasting (oxidized) and textured backgrounds.
Read more in my blog post: Southwest Native American Rings
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.|