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A remarkable contemporary Navajo silver and Fox
Nevada turquoise bracelet by Quaid Shorty, 2021
We don’t know a huge amount about Quaid Shorty personally other than the most important basics: first off, he is renowned Navajo silversmith, Perry Shorty’s son and second he is already one mighty awesome silversmith in his own right as this bracelet so eloquently attests. This piece is every bit as beautiful and well made as anything Perry Shorty might have made as Perry himself would likely be very proud to admit. Chips off the old block don’t get much better than this and apples don’t fall much closer to the tree. Quaid has exhibited for the past few years at the prestigious annual SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market and his work has been received there with great enthusiasm and every one of our professional colleagues who have been fortunate enough to get pieces of Quaid’s work think they are just terrific.
This bracelet is very finely and traditionally crafted and let’s begin our description in the very middle with the beautiful square cut high-grade Fox Nevada deep greenish-blue turquoise stone. The Fox mine near Lander County is one of America’s oldest turquoise mines and produces an excellent quality of very hard and durable stone. The turquoise stone has some visible internal matrix-related fine cracking or veining inside it which may appear to be cracks, but it is not.
The stone is 1/2” square and is set in an old-style foldover type silver bezel which is surrounded by a finely twisted silver wire border which itself is surrounded by a very creatively fabricated wider silver wire border. Moving outwards from there things get even more interesting. Quaid fabricated two beautiful half-moon or fan-shaped finely chiseled silver plates and applied them onto the silver shank on either side of the stone.
The silver shank, it is worth mentioning at this point, was beautifully triple split into several sections here at the bracelet’s center area, but these separated sections will come back together into a single solid piece as the bracelet progresses outwards towards the terminals. The triple split section is beautifully decorated with fine stampwork designs. At each end of the bracelet near the terminals, Quaid placed an oval-shaped deep repoussee or domed bump-out. The repoussess are also beautifully decorated all the way around with precisely executed stamp work designs. The bracelet’s overall design is satisfyingly complex, beautifully arranged and artfully layered. The amount of skill and concentrated effort handwork like this takes to accomplish so precisely and so well is difficult to imagine, as is how someone so young could get so good at these extremely difficult demanding tasks so fast, but then he did learn his craft from one the finest practitioners of Navajo silversmithing ever.
The bracelet measures 7/8” in width at its widest center point tapering down to 7/16” at the end terminals.
The inner circumference end-to-end is 5 3/4” and the gap between the terminals is 7/8” for a total interior circumference of 6 5/8”. The bracelet weighs a very comfortable and easy to wear 48 grams or 1 3/4 ounces.
It is in new, unworn original condition and it is signed “Quaid” on the interior in Quaid Shorty’s cursive
signature again in a similar vein to that of his Father.
This bracelet is a remarkably accomplished piece from a remarkably talented young artist. It would be equally attractive in our view when worn either by a man or a woman. It conveys both a great strength and intensity and
a certain delicacy and fascinating complexity. On top of everything else, the bracelet has perfect provenance; we bought it directly from Quaid earlier this year. This piece seriously makes you wonder if Quaid Shorty can make something this good already what will his work be like ten or fifteen years from now?
The Fox turquoise mine, located near Lander County and discovered in the early 1900’s, was once Nevada’s largest producer of turquoise with some half million pounds. At that time, Dowell Ward, the mine operator, amassed one of the largest collections of turquoise rock. The mining operation continued to produce turquoise in quantity after 1968 and is still producing today. Fox turquoise is quite hard and runs from shades of green to an aqua blue color. It is found as both nuggets and vein material. The names Fox, White Horse, Green Tree and Smith to differentiate among the colors of turquoise produced in the area and to create a larger perceived share of the market.
- Text and photo source and © Gene Waddell, Waddell Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ