Always Classic, Always New…Collectibles: Native American Jewelry

I thought this would be a fascinating subject to discuss in this month’s RSM blog post. I have a bit of history with Native American silver and turquoise jewelry in different eras and locations in my life…starting, as a young child attending the Santa Fe Railroad Fair in 1948 and 1949 which celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the Railroad. All the Southwest tribes were represented and were seen at work on their amazing crafts including jewelry. My souvenirs were pieces of their jewelry. In addition, I spent all my summers from very early childhood into high school visiting family in West Texas (we travel from Chicago to Texas on the Santa Fe, which was amazing and cemented my love of rail travel, yet another story to tell!!!) where the Indigenous people’s art was everywhere. I had bracelets up to my elbows, rings, a few necklaces, as well as concho belts…my collection was mostly Navajo and quite stunning. In retrospect, I’m sure many of the pieces were signed! I have to tell you, much to my regret now, I gave most of it to my Texas cousins and the few pieces I kept I traded for other jewelry with a vendor at a Randolph Street Market event several years ago! My loss! In between times I started collecting Fetish pieces and fashioned them into necklaces, which I still wear….go even further in time on a trip to Phoenix for a Costume Society of America Annual Symposium I went a bit over board getting turquoise necklaces. I don’t wear much silver so I concentrated on turquoise pieces and since I wear a predominantly black wardrobe the turquoise works well. And I love to see it styled with denim.

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Well enough about me….let’s get to the subject at hand…I’m going to start by saying there is SO much information out there on authentic pieces as well as fakes I’m going to say “buyer beware” definitely a subject you must do your homework and deal with vendors who know what they are talking about. Lucky for us we have a first time dealer from Tulsa, Oklahoma, JT Jewelry Shop, at the July RSM who will have some stunning examples for you. They are one of the best dealers in Native American jewelry and are collectors and lovers of turquoise, coral and silver as well as vintage wristwatches, gemstones, fossils and mineral specimens….a must visit booth! Photo below just a small selection of their Native American jewelry collection.

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Where does Turquoise come from…the earth has given us this fascinating stone. Here are two examples of Turquoise in its natural state. Most Turquoise mines have long since closed.

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

While we think of it as a Native American stone it has been found all over the world…for purposes of this post we will be investigating North American Turquoise as used by our Indigenous peoples and talking mostly vintage pieces. Each tribe, Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, Santa Domingo, has its own characteristics and many individual craftsmen who have signed their work. Some of the pieces have sold for thousands at auction. In my opinion, they add not only beauty but allow us to learn more about an important part of American history and its art. To be worn and treasured. I’m won’t go into the negatives of the past, but rather concentrate on the positives of these extraordinary cultures and their unique craftsmanship. I particularly liked this quote…

“But for the Indigenous community, turquoise is not just a rock, it’s a sacred being,” says Porter Swentzell, a professor of Indigenous Liberal Studies at Santa Fe’s Institute of American Indian Arts. “Mining it and working with it take on deeper meanings.”

Young Navajo wearing a squash blossom necklace….to learn more about the squash blossom Necklace go to https://cowboylifestylenetwork.com/squash-blossom/

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

I have followed the history of a fascinating style icon, Millicent Rogers, from the time of her, what I would call an almost obsession, wearing of the American genius creator, Charles James, to her world renowned collection of Native American jewelry. She wore and collected so many items she endowed a museum to house them located in Taos, New Mexico. https://www.millicentrogers.org/

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

A must read…hers is a unique and mesmerizing story…

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

In one of spectacular Charles James gowns.

And in her Native American jewelry

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

More pieces from her collections

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

The Museum

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

More of the Rogers Collection…

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Let’s now investigate some current lovers of this fascinating jewelry…

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Cher, of course,

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Iris Appel….the jewelry maven of all time! Talk about more is more but somehow it all works!

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

And of course the vintage pieces Ralph Lauren often includes in his collections.

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Some Concho belts and buckets, highly collectible

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market
Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

 

Fetish…
Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Pieces I found truly stunning…

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

And, of course, books…

Native American Jewelry Randolph Street Market

Happy hunting and collecting….perhaps one of our readers will share their favorite Southwestern chili or taco recipe!

All photos found on Pinterest photo credits unknown…

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EXCLUSIVE FOR THE RANDOLPH STREET MARKET BY NENA IVON, Nena’s Notes

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