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An excellent vintage Navajo silver and
turquoise ring by Jack Adakai, c. 1960’s-70’s
Jack Adakai (Active 1950’s-1980) is one of our very favorite historic Navajo silversmiths, a quiet modest man, an unsung hero who lived and worked in the era before the internet, long before facebook, twitter and the like. He was well known and well regarded within his local area of Gallup in far Western New Mexico but he was far from the era of the “Famous Indian artist.” He did, however, teach one who is now perhaps the most world renowned and admired Navajo silversmith ever, his nephew McKee Platero (b.1957).
Platero apprenticed with Jack Adakai and you can see distinct and not so distant echoes of Adakai’s work and artistic ideas in Platero’s subsequent work. The overall large-scale design sensibility, extreme technical virtuosity, use of heavy silver, deep complex stampwork patterns, multiple repuousees and the solid scale and feel of many of their pieces are all remarkably similar in attitude, look and overall feel.
The ring is a signet type design featuring a large central rectangularly-shaped turquoise stone, possibly from the Bisbee, AZ mine. The stone is set in a beautifully-crafted heavy serrated silver bezel mounted atop the ring’s tufa-cast silver shank. Two chiseled and stamped applied silver half moon designs flank the stone on either side of the shank.
It’s a beautiful and beautifully detailed elegant presentation overall.
The ring measures a size 10 1/2 to 10 3/4 on a professional graduated ring sizer. The ring’s face measures around 3/4"
in height and 3/4" in width and the ring weighs a substantial yet extremely comfortable 23 grams or 3/4 ounce. The ring
is in generally excellent original condition with some age-appropriate wear and a fine soft patina. It is properly signed with Jack Adakai’s customary capital initials “J.A.” stamped on a small silver plate attached to the inside of the ring.
Ring in the New Year in the finest traditional Navajo style with this beautiful, handsome historic ring.