Our feature this week, was contributed by another of the Jetteam members, the very talented Denise from LoveStoneArts. Visit her shop to see the beautiful, handcrafted jewelry she creates.
Ya'at eeh! Greetings
Maybe you are lucky enough to have some pieces of vintage southwest jewelry. There is so much information online; a few searches might help you to learn more about your treasure. Of course, each search leads to more searches!
GENERAL INFO - Click the link to read about the History of American Indian Jewelry Making
Southwest style turquoise jewelry was a popular fashion trend when I was a teen and all my life I have appreciated Native American art and culture. The gorgeous jewelry of the Southwest is one of my passions and an influence in some of the designs I coax from silver and flame. I love the wonderful nugget my grandma Gracie bought from the Dine’ people in Yuma Arizona when we passed through on the train in 1954; in fact I’m wearing it right now. I think my magic blue rock has been with me the longest of any of my possessions.
My parents have a 5 part set of silver and turquoise jewelry that was commissioned by my great-uncle in about 1960. Their recollection is that the artist was known to my uncle as “Charlie” and that some bail bond money was required to help their friend complete the order. Sometimes these stories passed down through the family get tweaked a bit with the passage of time, so who knows?
The set consists of a very large man’s bolo tie with a huge freeform piece of Morenci Mines turquoise, a ring, cuff bracelet, pendant and earrings also of Morenci turquoise and traditional silver work.
They all have the typical Morenci intense color and interesting pyrite inclusions.
ABOUT THE MINES - Read about the Turquoise Museum by clicking on the link to the left.
The hallmark is a capital C and sunrays symbol. There are plenty of good Native American hallmark sites. HALLMARK SITE
It turns out that perhaps the artist went by Charlie but his name is actually Carl Allen Begay, also known as Carlos Begay. I think my folks got the story mixed up a little. Sometimes a search will turn up a bio of the artist but I had no luck in this instance. Begay is the most common Navajo surname and there are lots and lots of Carl-s and Carlos-es. He must have been a popular and prolific artist because a general search of his name turns up quite a bit of his work including these stunning examples~
I’ve enjoyed researching and sharing with you a few things about the intriguing blue jewelry of the American Southwest.
Ahéhee' Thank you!