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A beautifully detailed vintage Zuni Pueblo

inlaid silver figural pendant/pin of an owl

by Pablita Quam, c.1980’s

This is a mighty impressive piece, the owl figure looks so lifelike it seems as if it could take flight at any moment. This pendant/pin was crafted by Zuni Pueblo artist, Pablita Quam, a member of the talented Quam family of Zuni inlay artists.

We do not know a great deal about this artist except for her being a member of a distinguished family of artists plus

the obvious fact that she is very clearly very highly skilled. So much so that a piece of her work, a similar owl figural pendant/pin, is held in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of The American Indian

in Washington D.C. as shown in the photograph below.

The large pendant/pin is inlaid with black jet or onyx, white and yellow shell, red catlinite or jasper and an

unidentified light brown material which might possibly be dolomite or bone. The stones have been beautifully and finely carved and incised to portray the owl’s feathers and other various details. The pendant/pin measures a touch over 3 1/2" in height and is 1 7/8" in width at its widest point. The pendant/pin is 1/4" in thickness and weighs a substantial 56 grams

or 2 ounces. It is signed on the back as follows: “Pablita Quam Zuni Pueblo” and it is in excellent original condition.

There is a slight amount of tarnish present on the silver which could easily be removed, if desired.

The pendant/pin is presently strung on a black silk jewelry cord which is included and it could also be successfully

worn on a silver chain or a leather thong of some kind.

Hoo do you love?


At right, a similar Zuni inlaid silver owl figural pendant/pin by Pablita Quam and Edward Quam, c. 1980's, in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C.

Photo source and © National Museum of the American Indian

At left, "Bubo Virginianus", The Great Horned Owl.

Photo source and © The Alaska Raptor Center