Real Bear Claw Necklace – can you tell me anything about it?

Hello Paula. I have a Bear Claw Squash Blossom necklace. I got it at an estate auction in 1989, in Bowman ND. It is missing one claw. They are real claws,  it is made of silver. It say “Craig” on the back. Is there anything more you may be able to tell me about it? Rob

1025130554a 1205131756 1205131756aRob,

Without seeing the hallmark, I can’t say for sure. There are several Navajo silversmiths in the Craig family.

If you would like to send a clear photo of the hallmark, that would help.

What is that hanging down between the two claws of the drop? Can’t quite get a fix on it. I’m thinking it might be a piece of Mother of Pearl (MOP) to coordinate with what appears to be MOP set above the turquoise on the two sidepieces.

The assembly of this necklace is not typical. The curved reinforcements are unusual.

I wouldn’t call this a squash blossom necklace. Although it is true, it is strung on double silver beads typical of squash blossom necklaces, that is about where the similarity ends.

Below is a traditional squash blossom necklace complete with squash blossoms.

N201-squash-turq-nugget-1And this next one is a bear claw squash blossom necklace.N150-SD-bearclaw-turq-coral-2 I look forward to receiving the photo of the hallmark.  Paula

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Bird Fetish Necklace from Goodwill

Hi Paula,I recently purchased from “Shop Goodwill” what may be a Zuni bird fetish necklace, but I am wondering if it is authentic. The 2-strand necklace is 30 inches long (without the clasp) and contains 72 carved birds that are each one-inch long.  The stones used for the bird carvings are several different colors. Due to possible color variations within one stone type, I am not sure if there are 5, 6, or 7 colors included. The spacers between the birds appear to be shell.I have searched online, and this doesn’t look like cheap fakes from other countries. However, the clasp looks a little different than I would expect based on other Native American necklaces.  And some of the birds are upside down.

Thanks for asking to see photos of the necklace. I paid $90 for it and am trying to find out if is Native American made.

Thanks for your time. I know you get a lot of requests, and I enjoy looking through your website.


bird fetish necklace 30 inch strands necklace bird close upHi Susan,

It is a very pretty necklace in very good condition. The photos are great.

The hand made clasp seems like a very familiar style I have seen on vintage necklaces or contemporary hand made necklaces.

The shell heishi is done very nicely.

The birds and the stones used for the birds, I’m not so sure about. The birds look so very similar to each other as to almost appear to be production made. And some of the stones I can’t identify. For example, the red birds do not appear to be made of coral or orange spiny oyster, two typically used materials in Native American made fetish necklaces.

As far as whether this is Native American carved, my gut feeling is no.

It could be Native strung from components that could have been made in the US or other places such as the Philippines.

I wish I could be of more help.  Paula

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What does “Vintage” mean in relation to Native American Jewelry?

Hi Paula,

I’m a regular shopper in your Pawn Shop and wonder what vintage means?


Hi Sue,

Webster defines the word vintage as a general term that is associated with a particular year such as a wine being of vintage 2009, for example. So in reality, it does not, in a global sense, designate any particular age, just “of an age”.

Here at Horsekeeping LLC, we have developed our own definition of vintage to describe items in our pawn shop. Here is that definition along with some other terms related to age.

Vintage – 30 years old or older, so something made in the 1980s or earlier. (However, with clothing, vintage means items made 20 years before the present day.)

NOS – New Old Stock. Made at least 20 years ago but never used.

Pre-Owned – An item of any age but that has been used.

First Phase – From 1860-1900. Read more about First Phase and Transition Period in  First Phase in Native American Jewelry

Patina – A dark or colored film of oxidation that forms naturally on metal by exposure to air and other elements. It is often valued for its aesthetically pleasing appearance. All items in our Pawn Shop, even NOS, have some patina. We leave it that way as some people like the natural patina. Otherwise sterling silver can be buffed back to a brilliant shine.

Here is another related article on the subject

Is this a rare style of Squash Blossom Necklace? Is it vintage?

Visit our pawn shop to learn more.  Paula

pawn shopBST465-625-cobblestone-spencer-1

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What is the gold and black on my Sterling Silver Singer cross?


I just received the beautiful Tom Singer cross. But I do have a question
about the cross. It is stated to be sterling but the front surface is copper
colored. Can you explain the process used to make it that way?


NPC602-AB-rsinger-B-1Hi Len,

The cross is solid sterling silver and Tommy Singer (and his son Richard whose crosses I am using to illustrate this article) oxidizes part of it (the black areas) for accent and puts a layer of 12 K gold on other parts of the design. This is called gold filled.

You can read about Gold Filled here

Beautiful cross !!!


MT Hallmark

Hi Paula,

found your website and see you have helped numerous people in identifying their jewelry! Hoping you will be able to help me with a bracelet……My father bought it in the 1970′s in New Mexico, it is a heavy silver with coral and turquoise and a MT stamped on the back. I have tried to find that hallmark but without any luck…..hoping maybe you will know the artisan! any help is appreciated, thank you jennifer

IMG_0665 IMG_0666Hi Jennifer,

There are about a dozen artists that use the initials MT.

From the look of the bracelet we’d be looking for a vintage Navajo artist. I don’t recognize the style of any artist particularly. Perhaps another reader does.

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Who made this bracelet I bought in Utah? FW hallmark

Hello Paula, I have a  sterling and turquoise cuff bracelet I purchased many years ago from an “Indian” store in cedar city, Utah. If I remember right it cost somewhere around $400. Any info or input you may have would be greatly appreciated.
It has a hallmark stamp on the back of it in which I can not identify. I have pictures of the bracelet if you would like.  the hallmark reads
                                                          thanks so much, Lynne
native 001 native 003 native 004 native 006Hi Lynne,
You have a beautiful classic Navajo style row bracelet. What is not typical, however, is the scroll work at the ends.
As far as the hallmark, I do not know. I have attributions to a FW hallmark where the F is stacked on top of the W. And a hallmark with periods after each initial, but none just like yours.
Perhaps someone else knows.
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FY Hallmark

Hi Paula,

I have a few pieces of Frank Yazzie’s jewelry, which I find really sweet.  Do you know anything about him?  His work, his life?  thank you so much for helping.  I found these adorable pieces and was wondering about the history.  It looks like the Yazzie family might have had a few jewelry makers.  Thank you,  Shelley
$(KGrHqF,!q0FCzVFlZGqBQ04CjCcp!~~60_57 $T2eC16N,!ygE9s7HHqLLBQ04CjB-v!~~60_57 $T2eC16RHJG!E9nm3q(UuBRLBdu1Ypw~~60_57 $T2eC16VHJGwE9n)yTeQ3BRLBeLZG,g~~60_57Hi Shelley,
Yazzie is one of the most common Navajo names and many Yazzie family members do make jewelry.   There are nearly 70 Yazzie artists listed in just one of my hallmark books. Not all artists who have produced or are producing are listed in hallmark books so that means there are likely many more Yazzie silversmiths.
There are two FY hallmarks in my books. One is Fatoya Yazzie  who does contemporary adaptations of classic designs, necklaces.
The other is Frank Yazzie (Francis Yazzie) of Zuni Pueblo, NM born in 1920. He began making jewelry in 1935. I’m not sure if he is still making jewelry, or for that matter, if he is still alive. His teacher was Charlie Bitsue, his grandmother’s brother.
We have carried his classic horse earrings for years but have not purchased any for several years so I am not sure of his status.
NE399-horse-appy-turq-yazzie-1 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPaula