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A very fine vintage pair of Zuni Pueblo inlaid silver earrings with twin feather designs, c. 1940’s-50’s

These sweet little earrings are just lovely things; strikingly designed and very finely crafted they immediately capture a classic Southwestern appearance and timeless beauty. They’re precisely the sorts of pieces an intrepid tourist driving down old Route 66 or riding on the Santa Fe Railway’s “Super Chief” from Albuquerque to Los Angeles might’ve bought herself as a souvenir of her Southwest adventure on a bright sunny summer afternoon in 1948 or 1954 at a dusty old indian trading post somewhere in the high deserts of New Mexico or Arizona.

The earrings are made using both of the classic Zuni Pueblo inlay styles; channel inlay where the inlaid stones are separated from each other by very thin silver channels and stone to stone inlay where the stone pieces are placed directly next to each other. The overall effect is to form an attractive mosaic of the various colored and textured stones interspersed with the lines of the silver channels which is accomplished here to excellent effect. The stones used in these earrings are white Mother of pearl shell, black jet, blue turquoise and brown comus or snail shell.

Two of the great old Indian trading posts in New Mexico. At left, the Fred Harvey Indian Building at the Hotel Alvarado in Albuquerque c. 1920‘s.

At right, the Old Santo Domingo Pueblo Indian Trading Post, c. 1940’s. These earrings could have been originally purchased at either one of the posts.

The inlays, especially the turquoise pieces in the middle and the comus shells at the tops are done in an older style manner, using slightly irregular, not quite precisely cut small pieces of turquoise and a little more adhesive fill to secure the stones in place. A finely twisted and hammered silver wire borders both sides of the earrings; catching the light perfectly and thus “framing” the earrings in beautiful bright silver.

The earrings measure 1 1/2” in length from the top of their round hanging loops to the bottom of the feathers

and they are 1” in width at their widest points. The earrings are mounted on gracefully curving long silver hooks and the total “drop” length of the earrings is just shy of 2” from the top of the silver hooks.  The earrings are in excellent original condition and they show some wear to several of the inlaid stones, most notably the turquoise pieces, but everything is nice and secure in its settings and none of the stones are loose or cracked.

These earrings are beautiful, comfortable, easy to wear, classic, authentic, historic Southwestern style,

you really can’t ask for much more than that especially at such a fair and square price.

Price $375


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Travelers on the Santa Fe Railroad across the Southwest had multiple opportunities to buy souvenirs such as these earrings at

various Fred Harvey Company and other Indian trading posts along the route across New Mexico, Arizona and Southern California.

Seen here is the Santa Fe “Super Chief” crossing Arizona en route to Los Angeles, c. 1950’s.

Photo source and © Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway