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An exceptional historic Navajo or Zuni Pueblo
ingot-silver and turquoise “row”-style bracelet possibly
by Della Casa Appa for C.G. Wallace, c.1930’s-40’s
Let’s get straight to the wonderful particulars of this unique and historic beauty; it’s a strikingly attractive ingot-silver row-style narrow cuff bracelet set with thirteen perfectly-matched gorgeous hand-cut turquoise stones. Eleven of these stones are oval-shaped and set directly next to each other on an inclined angle, the final two in a wonderful artistic touch are cut round in shape and set at the center of each terminal end, a very creative and attractive way to finish out the “row” of stones. The stones look an awful lot like Cerrillos, New Mexico turquoise with its characteristic rich greenish-blue hues and medium brown matrix.
The thirteen turquoise stones are very nicely set in old-style heavy “fold-over” type silver bezels and are mounted side by side around a thick cast ingot-silver shank. The thirteen stones are further accentuated by twelve pairs of beautifully applied large silver “raindrops” interspersed between them on either side all the way around the bracelet. The superb overall quality and stylistic details of the silver work and the stone settings lead us to an interesting speculation which is the distinct possibility that this bracelet might very well be a C.G. Wallace trading post piece made by the renowned Zuni Pueblo silversmith, Della Casa Appa (1889-1963).
“Della Casa Appa was one of the most famous jewelers in her time and is noted
among Leo Poblano and Dan Simplicio for having the highest quality of work during the
high point of production at the Zuni Pueblo under trader C.G. Wallace.”
-Quotation source and © shiprocksantafe.com
The jewelry made at Charles Garrett (C.G.) Wallace’s (1898-1993) trading post during this time period literally set the standard for the highest quality in Native American jewelry and his stellar all-star team of Navajo and Pueblo silversmiths prominently featuring Della Casa Appa was one of the best in the business. Casa Appa was one of the very first female Zuni Pueblo silversmiths and she was one of Wallace’s very favorite artists and made many important high-end jewelry pieces for his distinguished clientele. It is entirely possible that having obtained these outstanding turquoise stones, that Wallace asked Casa Appa to make this bracelet featuring them for a specific favored client and it certainly does feature them prominently; every available part of this bracelet is completely and richly covered with these delicious mouth-watering stones.
Charles Garrett (C.G.) Wallace, c. 1920’s
Della Casa Appa making jewelry at
C.G. Wallace’s Trading Post, c. 1930’s
Photo source and © Palace of the Governors Photo Archives, Santa Fe, NM
The C.G. Wallace Trading Post, Zuni Pueblo, c. 1920
During this time period, C.G. Wallace was literally a giant turquoise magnet, combing the country voraciously to vacuum up all the high-quality stones he could find. As he famously used to say “All the turquoise miners in the country know that the place to sell their best stones is at C.G. Wallace’s”.
The bracelet measures 9/16” in width at its widest center point and tapers very slightly down to 7/16” in width at the end terminals. The inner circumference end-to-end is 5 1/4” and the gap between the terminals is 1” for a total interior circumference of 6 1/4”. The bracelet weighs an extremely comfortable and easily wearable 45 grams or 1 5/8 ounces. The bracelet is in excellent original condition overall, several of the turquoise stones do have cracks, but they are all completely secure in their bezels.
This is the kind of great old vintage bracelet you very seldom see available anymore unless you are fortunate
enough to have an experienced old Indian trader who happens to be a close personal friend. People almost never let go of these pieces and after you have had a good look at all the photos here it will be very easy to see why this is so.