I recently saw a carved turquoise pendant. It was about 1 1/2″ horse head. The store owner said it was an antique by an artist named Simon Yazzie. I have been unable to find any other jewelry by this artist. The initials on the back of the piece are SY. Do you know of this artist? and if so, how do I find more of his work? Sara
I have never heard of Simon Yazzie and he is not listed in Hallmarks of the Southwest by Barton Wright which is one of the few printed references available on Native American hallmarks.
The only artist associated with SY in that book happens to be one that I am familiar with – Navajo Steve Yellowhorse. His hallmark of SY is in Gothic, often on a separate sterling silver plate silver soldered to the back of the pieces. The stamp is 1/4″ x 7 1/6″
Sometimes a galloping horse is used with his SY hallmark. Here is an example of a Steve Yellowhorse bracelet we currently have in our store.
Now as far as Yazzie, did you know that Yazzie is sometimes called the “Smith” of the Navajo world? In other words, when you open the telephone book in Gallop, New Mexico area, for example, there are pages of Yazzies. It is an extremely common name. We have many items made by members of the Yazzie family but about the only one associated with an SY hallmark is Shirley Yazzie. We’ve had earrings made by her and we currently have Navajo Pearls (sterling silver beads) by Shirley Yazzie.
Best of luck – it sounds like a beautiful piece.