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A beautiful vintage Navajo silver and petrified wood
or agate bracelet and two rings, c. 1940’s-50’s
These three wonderful jewelry pieces are the very embodiment of our beautiful colorful Southwestern desert landscape and of the early-to-mid 20th Century history of travel, tourism and Native Arts in our unique region.
These are precisely the sorts of interesting and eye-catching pieces you would have excitedly purchased back
in the 1940’s or 50’s in a Southwestern Indian trading post as an appropriate and meaningful souvenir keepsake of your long summer drive out from Chicago to Los Angeles and back on the old Route 66 and your various interesting and memorable stops along the way or your luxuriously pampered ride on the Santa Fe Railway’s renowned “Super Chief” through the immense exotic expanses of the Southwest and your various visits to the famous Fred Harvey company hotels, restaurants and trading posts along the route. Along these routes whether you travelled by car or by train you would have passed directly by The Painted Desert and The
Petrified Forest in eastern Arizona where these 200 million plus year old stones were originally found.
View of The Petrified Forest near Holbrook, Arizona
Photo source and © Arizona Highways Magazine
These three pieces of jewelry all prominently feature these magical ancient stones, like picture windows into all the extraordinary colors and hues of the Arizona desert; the rich red oranges, yellow ochres, purples, greys, blacks, greens. And unlike many so-called “tourist” era Southwestern Native jewelry pieces, these three pieces are all particularly well crafted pointing to them having been made by experienced traditional Navajo or Pueblo silversmiths and made at prominent Southwestern indian trading posts with very strict quality standards such as Julius Gans’ Southwest Arts in Santa Fe, Maisel’s in Albuquerque, Woodard’s or C.G. Wallace’s in Gallup, Vaughn’s in Phoenix or Verkamp’s at The Grand Canyon.
You can purchase any of these three pieces individually or any two of them or all three together as a particularly “sweet suite” which look just wonderful together as you can see here. However you look at it, these pieces are all beautiful historic picturesque snapshots of our colorful classic Southwestern landscape and Native art traditions that will give you a great deal of satisfaction over the years. We will describe each of the three individual pieces in greater detail below:
A fairly large scale and very visually impressive piece with an incredible large central stone, like a giant
picture window into all the amazing varied colors of the Arizona desert; rich red oranges, yellow ochres, purples, greys, blacks, greens. The stone is mounted in a finely decorated and elaborately framed silver “foldover” type bezel atop a perfectly crafted triple split-silver shank. The bracelet’s silver shank is elaborately decorated with perfectly executed stampworked designs in a variety of fanciful “tourist” era stylized Southwestern motifs including Diamondback rattlesnakes, arrows and crescents.
The bracelet is classically and traditionally crafted, beautiful, folky, campy and completely charming all
at the same time. The bracelet’s central platform medallion measures 1 7/8” in height and 1 5/8” in width.
The bracelet width tapers from 1 7/8” at its widest center point down to 3/4” at the terminal ends. The inner circumference end-to-end is 5 5/8” and the gap between the terminals is 11/16” for a total interior circumference of 6 5/16”. The bracelet weighs a comfortable and easy to wear 57 grams or 2 ounces and it is in thoroughly excellent original condition.
Ring Number One
Another extraordinarily well-crafted and strikingly beautiful piece with a five segment split-silver shank and exceptionally well-done and profuse stamp worked decoration all around the silver body of the ring. The large beautifully-colored oval-shaped central Petrified wood or agate “picture” stone is gorgeously and richly colored and nicely set in an old style “foldover” type silver bezel which is beautifully accentuated with a very finely done twisted silver wire surround. The ring’s face measures a sizable 1 1/2” in length and it is 9/16” in width at its widest point. The ring is a size 5 3/4 on a professional graduated ring sizer and it weighs a very comfortable and easy to wear 9 grams or 3/8 ounce. It is in completely excellent original condition.
Ring Number Two
Another finely handmade and extremely attractive ring, with a triple split-silver shank. The large, extravagantly-colored oval-shaped petrified wood or agate central “picture” stone is nicely set in an old style “foldolver” type silver bezel which beautifully accentuated on both sides with very finely done twisted silver wire borders and a set of three round applied silver “raindrops” which have been hammered into disc-like shapes. The ring’s face measures 1 1/8” in length and is 9/16” in width at its widest point. The ring is a size 6 1/4-6 1/2 on a professional graduated ring sizer and it weighs a very comfortable and easy to wear 8 grams or 1/4 ounce.
It is in completely excellent original condition.
Left, driving along old U.S. Route 66 in Arizona, c. 1950‘s. Right, The Santa Fe Railway’s “Super Chief” en route from Albuquerque to Los Angeles
Left photo source and © The St. George News. Right photo source and © Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway