Recently, one of my consignors handed me a box of jewelry and said, “I want to sell this.” This, being, her collection of sterling and turquoise pieces she had accumulated on her frequent trips to the Southwest.
I began collecting Taxco, Mexico sterling bracelets a few years ago so I was open to learning more about Southwest jewelry.
My consignor’s jewelry is mostly sterling, turquoise and coral. There are rings, bracelets, and necklaces. Some pieces are older and unmarked. Other pieces were made more recently and branded with the word ‘sterling’ along with the name, initials, or symbol of the maker. All of the pieces are lovely and creative wearable art.
Many of the pieces were owned and treasured by tribal members and worn for ceremonies and family gatherings. These pieces could have been used as collateral when times were tough and money scarce. The owners may not have been able to pay their debt and so the jewelry was made available to the open market.
The recent pieces were probably specifically made for tourist trade. The stamped word ‘sterling’ found on some of these pieces could date them to the 1940’s.
I highly recommend Barton Wright’s informative book, “Hallmarks of the Southwest.” It is a Schiffer encyclopedia type book filled with biographical entries, symbols, shop marks and more.
Please take a look at these beautiful handcrafted pieces for sale on our website under the heading Southwest Jewelry and contact us.