Little info in Canada on Hopi hallmarks – can you help?

June 26. 2014

Hi Paula.  I hope you can help me.  I have spent hours and hours and hours trying to identify some Hopi jewellery that i bought in the 70’s. I live in Canada, and there is little help up here  identifying  South West Jewellery.  I have two silver overlay Hopi  pins, both with the same ‘signature’ on the back.  The signature is sort of like a ‘W’ .  I have searched available sites on line that list signatures, but have not found anything.  I also tried searching the images of pieces that seemed similar, and I came up with a definite similarity to a pin/pendant by Victor Coochwytewa (I should be so lucky!)

Could your recommend someone who might be able to help me with signed pottery?  I have small items by Marie G. Romero from Jemez, Gloria Gachupin from the Zia Pueblo, and a beautiful pot by Rondina Huma, Tewa.
Thank you for any help.
elain genser

Hopi kachina hallmark Hopi kachina pin (2) hopi kachina pin Hopi RoadRunner Roadrunner markHi Elain,

Thank you for your patience. As you can see, due to the volume of questions we receive, it takes about a month for a question to work its way to the top of the queue.

I know nothing about pottery, so perhaps another reader might reply to that.

Elain, you also sent photos of a bracelet. If you want to resubmit that as a separate question like you did with this pin question, I’ll put it in the queue.

Now to the hallmark on these wonderful collectible Hopi pins.

The W hallmark is actually that of a lightning bolt with two arrowheads, one on each end. There is a bit of patina there occluding the hallmark. That hallmark is of McBride Lomayestewa, a Hopi artist of the Snow Clan from the village of Shungopavi who was born in 1932.  He began work in 1956 and died in 2002.

He learned his craft at the Hopi Guild. He is brother of Mark and Clarence.

Now that you know the artist’s name you can do a search and learn more about him and see other examples of his work.

Enjoy your treasures !


To view our full list of article or to ask a jewelry question, follow the instructions here

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How to Find Your Spirit Animal – Do the Internet Quizzes Work?

Every week we receive queries from customers and readers asking how to find their personal animal spirit.

No one can tell you what your spirit animal is – you will know. The animal will find you or you will find the animal. You will know.

Among other things, you can soul-search, meditate, go on a vision quest, walk in nature or a zoo or browse the fetishes in our store to help you find an animal you are drawn to.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe’ve been asked if the online quizzes will help you find your animal spirit.  To answer that, I will be the guinea pig (no, that’s not my animal spirit !) and test 9 of the more popular quizzes.

But first for a baseline, here are the animals that are aligned with me.


Horse – I’ve spent a lifetime with them


Buffalo and Owl – my mother’s animal spirits


Buffalo and Owl – my mother’s animal spirits


Eagle – my father’s animal spirit


Wolf – an animal spirit that aligned with me about ten years ago


Bear – my husband’s animal spirit

Now to the quizzes and their results. Some quizzes on line were so bad, I didn’t even include them. Here are the 9 that I tested.


My Results – The Wolf

You are typically a more nighttime-ish person, you are very intellectual and skilled in sports and other out door activities. You have a lot of friends but you sometimes are misunderstood, and feel as if no one really understands how you are and how you feel.



My results

What Is Your Animal Soulmate?

You got: A cute owl

Your animal soulmate is a cute owl.



My results

What Is Your Spirit Animal?

A three-toed tree sloth hangs from the trunk of a tree in the jungle on the bank of the Panama CanalYou got: The Sloth

You’re as cool as a cucumber, and you love to go with the flow. Your favorite activities include eating, sleeping, and eating again. Your rap name is Sir Naps-a-Lot.


The Gabby Wild Foundation – What’s Your Spirit Animal?

My results

You are the Snow Leopard!

FC350-lion-jet-begay-1Like the snow leopard, people believe that you are extraordinarily fierce. While you certainly give a certain bite and are not afraid to defend what is rightfully yours, you don’t always “roar”. In fact, the snow leopard is unable to roar. You keep yourself well-protected, as does the snow leopard. They have large paws that are completed covered in fur to keep them warm and act like snowshoes.



My Result

Your spirit animal is the Owl


Characteristics: Intuition, ability to see what other do not see, announcer of change, wisdom

Spirit Animal Profile: The owl spirit animal is emblematic of a deep connection with wisdom and intuitive knowledge. If you have the owl as totem or power animal, you’re likely to have the ability to see what’s usually hidden to most. When the spirit of the animal guides you, you can the true reality and see beyond illusion and deceit.



You are a Wolverine!


Powers: Fighting ability—strength, speed, and toughness

Nobody messes with Wolverines. You’re fearless, assertive (okay, aggressive), and tenacious. You might be a Marine, or a middle linebacker. You’re the best at whatever you choose to do, because you give yourself no alternative.



What Is Your Spirit Animal?

You got: The Buffalo

The Buffalo once roamed across all of North America, and represents the sacredness of nature. Like the Buffalo, you have a wandering spirit and a deep appreciation for the blessings of the Earth. You will go far and see many wondrous things.



My results

You are a Scottish Wild Cat!




This test requires you register with an e-mail.

Your result for The What is Your Spirit Animal Test

The Grizzly Bear

Here’s your results! Your spirit animal has a Nobility ranking of 14 out of 18.

FB525-pm-laiwakete-1Your spirit animal is the Grizzly Bear. No other spirit animal matches it’s size and strength. This creature is among the noblest and most respectable, and you are truly fortunate. It is both fearsome and awesome to behold. It will serve you well, and shows that you have a deeper understanding than most. It is quite rare indeed to have a Grizzly as a spirit animal!***Wondering how this animal was chosen for you? These questions were carefully thought out to see how important you hold certain virtues such as: humanism, self-knowledge, rationalism, the love of freedom and other somewhat Hellenic ideals. Some of the questions were very subtle. Your score was then matched with an animal of corresponding nobility.



The tests were interesting, some even fun. Of the nine tests I took, here is the summary of the results:

1 wolf (my wolf animal spirit)

1 bear (my husband’s animal spirit)

2 owls and 1 buffalo (my mother’s animal spirits)

And then there were

2 felines

1 wolverine

1 sloth

So I’d call the online quizzes hit and miss.  I doubt that anyone that knows me would associate me with a sloth yet most of the others were on target or at least in the ballpark.


More info please on my Number Eight Leonard Jim piece

June 13, 2014
Hi Paula, thanks so much for your informative website and blog.  over the years i have collected a lot of native american jewelry and unfortunately i lost most of the details of each piece.  i am still looking for the excel spreadsheet i used to track the details but so far can’t find it.
about 25 years ago in Jackson, WY i purchased a turquoise pendant with the hallmark “Leonard Jim”.  i think the turquoise is Number Eight.
my question is
what is the biography of the Navajo artist Leonard Jim?
what type of turquoise is in my pendant?  how can i find out?
thanks, Jana
DSCN0561 DSCN0562Hi Jana,
Thank you for your patience. As you can see, due to the volume of questions we receive, it takes about a month for a question to work its way to the top of the queue.
Leonard Jim is a contemporary Navajo artist who is noted for mosaic, channel inlay, silver overlay, stamp work, applique jewelry and buffalo dance rattles. His favorite designs include the kokopelli, horse, pictorial and storyteller. He lives in Gallup, New Mexico. He signs his pieces with his full name as on your beautiful pendant and also as LJ.
As far as what type of turquoise? Number Eight (also #8) refers to the name of a turquoise mine near Carlin, Nevada.  You’ll see it in the top row of this map.
turquoise-mines-map-2-800wStones from that mine are typically exceptional spiderweb turquoise with the matrix ranging from golden brown to almost black, but a deep golden webbing is most characteristic. Yours certainly looks like it could be #8.
To view our full list of article or to ask a jewelry question, follow the instructions here
If you are selling your jewelry, read this our pawn shop for your research and shopping

Sterling Silver Navajo Sandcast Bracelet by Harrison Bitsui with a Number Eight Turquoise Cabochon

Is this pendant marked “HOPI HAND MADE” a fake?

Hello Paula

I hope you can help me.  I purchased a silver beaded chain necklace (1 long bead, 2 round beads) and what looks like a thunderhead pendant an online auction today — and will pick up tomorrow…

I am trying to research the mark, and now am afraid that it’s a fake.

It’s marked


From the photos I can’t see any other marks on the back of the pendant and

I haven’t been able to find this mark anywhere on the internet, hopefully you can help me.

Thank you very much!  I really appreciate that you do this service for people.

I will wait with baited breath for the answer…
hopefully it’s good news and not bad!



CLOSE UP!cid_tie_8D14E41EC7D61E4_3218_6924A!cid_tie_8D14E41ED74F14C_3218_6924EHi Karen,

I have never seen the hallmark



nor does it appear in any of my reference books.

Furthermore, when I look at the pendant I see at least two things that are not characteristic of Hopi work.

First the stamping around the bird’s tail – stamping is not usually seen on Hopi silver work. That would be associated more with Navajo silversmithing.

Secondly, the background that the overlay is placed on top of is smooth, not textured. Hopi under layers are usually textured.

Perhaps another reader of this blog has seen the stamping on the back before. But from my knowledge and experience, I can’t provide any information for you which authenticates it.


To view our full list of article or to ask a jewelry question, follow the instructions here

If you are selling your jewelry, read this

Visit our pawn shop for your research and shopping


Cyrus Josytewa Hopi Sterling Silver Overlay Kokopelli Man in the Maze Buckle


What kind of turquoise is in this Nickel Silver Bell Pendant?

Hi Paula,

I have a pendant stamped with Nickel Silver and the Bell emblem.  What I’m wondering about is the turquoise that is in it.  It has a large flat oval piece in the center which is surrounded by 10 round pieces.  The pendant is about 2″ in size.

I’ve read your list of types of turquoise to try to identify it.  It has no veining in it at all, and is a very clear, consistent color of turquoise.  In fact, it really doesn’t look like real turquoise at all to me.  How can I tell what it is?
pendant.mason1 pendant.mason2Hi Vicki,
Taking into consideration the color and consistency and that this is a Nickel pendant, I’d say this is imitation turquoise.
Here is a nickel bracelet with faux turquoise in our pawn shop for your reference.
To view our full list of article or to ask a jewelry question, follow the instructions here
If you are selling your jewelry, read this

Visit our pawn shop for your research and shopping

pawn shop logo

Chip Inlay Peyote Bird Necklace with TED hallmark

June 3, 2014
Hi Paula,
I recently inherited a squash blossom necklace that has turquoise and coral chips inlaid in peyote birds. There is one large bird at the bottom and five that go up each side of the necklace.

My question is in regards to the hallmark. The piece is stamped twice. Once with the name/initials “TED” in a vertical position so that the T is closest to the floor. The other mark is much fainter and says “TED” horizontally over a tomahawk. Have you ever come across this hallmark, and if so can you tell me anything about the artist?

Thanks for your time,


Hi Walter,
I wish I could help but I do not know this hallmark, nor do I see it in any of my references. Perhaps another reader has seen it.
Great necklace !
To view our full list of article or to ask a jewelry question, follow the instructions here

If you are selling your jewelry, read this

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Replacing batteries in watch cuffs

Hi Paula,

I have purchased 2 native american watch cuff’s.  I would have had  to  have the batteries  replaced in them every year .  Is there a kit  that I can buy to replace the batteries in thesewatch  cuff’s my self.   The jewelry stores in my area , now they do not want to replace the batteries in these watches.


Tommy Moore Cuff Watch showing the decorative wings that must be opened. Underneath the wings are tabs that secure the watch in place. They must also be opened so that the timepiece can be removed.

Hi Debra,

Just for sake of completeness in this answer, I want to point out that it is easy to replace the battery in a link or expansion band watch because the back of the watch is exposed so it is easy to access. Many people do it themselves or an ordinary jeweler can do it for you.


An expansion band watch showing how there is easy access of the back of the timepiece.



Similarly, there is easy access to the back of the timepiece in a link watch.

However, I know you are asking about cuff watches………..they are trickier because the watch face must be removed completely from the cuff bracelet so the back of the timepiece can be accessed. To do that the fans and anchor tabs must be opened and unless you do have the correct tools and know-how you could damage or break the fans or tabs.

My husband and I have both tried to replace the batteries in my watch cuffs. I have also taken them to local jewelers – all with varying degrees of success.

Now I mail all my cuffs to an experienced Native American jeweler when I need a battery replaced. (see the end of this article for contact information).

To extend the life of the battery, I always pull the watch stem out when I am not
wearing my watch cuffs. This stops the watch and the battery lasts longer.

Alternatively you could use a watch that doesn’t require a battery change such as a good old fashioned wind up watch, a kinetic watch (one that self winds in response to your normal everyday arm movements, sometimes referred to as a self-wind or mechanical watch), a solar watch (also called eco drive watch), or a Quartz watch (one that runs on a quartz crystal).

Native American jeweler that we use – contact

Diane Radeke
Old Town Trading Co. / Jewels of the West
4009 N. Brown Ave.
Scottsdale, AZ  85251


To view our full list of article or to ask a jewelry question, follow the instructions here

If you are selling your jewelry, read this

Visit our pawn shop for your research and shopping


Bear Claw Cuff watch by Navajo Elaine Sam