So far I’ve just skimmed the surface of this wonderful collection with the listing of the rugs previously noted and now some awesome vintage but unused bolo ties.
We recently purchased a large collection of vintage but unused Native American artifacts including jewelry, rugs and pottery. It was part of the estate of a Navajo woman who was a missionary that worked with Native Americans in Four Corners – the area of the American southwest where four states meet- New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado. As a single parent, she raised 5 daughters and a son while also providing food, shelter, and clothing to less fortunate people that needed assistance. Often she was thanked for her help by gifts of Native American items.
Most of the items in this collection are from the 1970s to the 1990s. We offer these items to you with great respect and with the information we received from the family plus our research.
We named the collection after one of the pieces in the group, a hand carved Navajo fetish necklace honoring the Sacred White Buffalo.
I am interested in some of Tommy Singer’s work which is displayed on your website.
Items NHS828, NH878, NH827, and the multi-strand bamboo coral.
I am wondering what percentage of the beads he uses are actually handmade/handformed by him or his family. My wife and I are building a collection, trying to stick to sole-authorship pieces.
Any information you can give me on these pieces, or any others you might have by Tommy and others would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks and best regards,
Thanks for your inquiry.
The 12K gold filled barrel beads that are decorated, gold, black silver are made by Tommy Singer. Also the solid sterling silver barrel beads are made by him. They are on most of his necklaces. They are his signature treasure necklace beads.
The purple and orange spiny oyster and turquoise heishi style disc beads are made by him. Also the other gemstone beads that are disc style.
The long narrow bamboo coral – I am not sure but I think not made by him.
The little sterling silver decorative spacers – I think not made by him.
The sterling silver cone ends are not made by him.
So a high percentage of what goes into his necklace is hand made by Tommy Singer or his family.
Doris and James Coriz make all the component of their necklaces, for example
These artists also make ALL of the heishi right on the “string” so to speak.
Enjoy browsing and let me know if I can help further.
In 1899, US gum manufacturers formed a conglomerate, The American Chicle Company.
In 1906 Frank Fleer (does his name ring a bell, bubble gum lovers?) began making a hard-shelled, candy-coated white peppermint gum called Chiclets.
Chicle is the English version of the word tzikiti (“sticky stuff”), the Nahuatl word for the resin that makes chewing gum. Oddly enough though, Chiclets are made from a different gum base!
By 1920, Chiclets were available in bright colors: yellow, green, orange, red, white, and pink. The small shiny rectangles each had a different flavor – mostly fruits; the white was still peppermint.
Native Americans, most specifically Santo Domingo artists, began calling their colorful, multi-stone necklaces “Chiclet Necklaces” and it is easy to see why.
Some Santo Domingo artists add small treasures among the chiclets and call the necklaces Treasure Necklaces.
I was interested in purchasing a fetish necklace made by Corrine Ramirez and wanted to know if this was signed by her, or had any kind of certificate by the artist? Thank you!
I don’t know of any fetish necklace makers that sign their necklaces – they do so by “style” – that is, the pieces are recognizably by a certain artist.
We purchase directly from Corrine. That’s the best certification.
As far as a Certificate of Authenticity (COA), the only legal certificate is one signed by the artist. In other words, if a store owner gives you one that says “This is authentic Native American made by so-and-so” it is not valid. It is worthless.
With that said, only about 1% of the artists that we deal with issue signed certificates for each piece. We indicate on the item page if there is a COA.
Only one Navajo artist gives us certificates with her pieces. And we represent the work of hundreds of artists from many tribes.
However, aside from fetish necklaces, the majority of Native American pieces today are signed with some sort of hallmark.
So I’ve made a short answer long, just to give you more background.
Hope this helps.
It does Paula. Thank you for getting back with me. I wasn’t sure if a necklace could actually be signed, but thought I’d check.
I want to be certain before I make such a big purchase. Thanks again! Melissa
Spirit dolls are ancient talismans against all negativity and evil. They embody spirits that have gone before, representing their strengths, positive energies, and beauty.
Here are some examples of specific Apache Spirit Dolls by celebrated artist Cynthia Whitehawk and what they represent.
Raven Medicine – Ravens carry great responsibility to Spirit and are the messengers of magic and healing from the universe where all knowledge waits for us. Raven also symbolizes changes in consciousness, of levels of awareness and perception.
Raven Shaman Spirit Doll (below)
Necklace beads of sky blue turquoise, coral and sterling silver with hand painted bone raven feather pendant. She wears a genuine tiny beaded medicine bag – inside are rare Sacred Arizona Sweet Sage, Sacred Golden Tobacco, and tiny polished clear Quartz gemstones. These contents keep her energy clear, positive and powerful.
Raven Dream Keeper (below) is keeper of the eternal flame of life, Medicine Healing Spirit, Spirit of the Bird Clans
There are several Bird Clans depending on tribal affiliation. The Cherokee Bird Clan are messengers between earth and heaven – between humans and the Creator. The Cherokee Bird Clan has 3 subdivisions: The Raven, Turtle Dove, and Eagle. The Raven, a large Crow, is governed by Crow Medicine. The Crow is the power of the unknown at work – ceremonial magic and healing.
Raven Dream Keeper wear a necklace of tiny shell birds for her connectedness to the Bird Clan.
Grandmother Medicine – Grandmother Shaman guides with the ancient wisdom and practical knowledge, ever the kindest of souls, ever the most helpful, a quieting and soothing presence. Her medicine bag is adorned with coral and turquoise. It contains a rich mixture of smudging herbs and resin, sage and golden tobacco with tiny clear quartz stones.
Grandmother Spirit Keeper – Bird Clan (below)
The carved tiny shell birds represent the ancient following of the Bird Clan. The gourd represents the vessels made from gourd, gourds which carried water and food for life. She wears a beaded talisman/amulet which is a carved turquoise bear, silver beads and penn shell heishi.
Crystal Keeper Medicine Woman (below)
Her necklaces are quartz and silver beads and large natural quartz points. She wears a tiny medicine bag beaded with quartz and silver beads. The bag contains Sacred Sweet Sage, Sacred Golden Tobacco, and tiny polished clear Quartz gemstones. These contents keep her energy clear, positive and powerful.
Grandmother Shaman: Gourd Dance Clan (below)
Her necklace is of sky blue and coral red old glass beads, silver and a tiny gourd, which represents the rattle made from a gourd in the Gourd Dance Clan.
The Gourd Dance was given to the Kiowa in the 1700s by a red wolf when the Kiowa inhabited the Black Hills and Devils Tower area of South Dakota and Wyoming.
The dance was a gift to the Kiowa people and the songs and dances were performed by a specific society until the 1930s – with a good wolf howl at the end of each song in tribute to the red wolf.
Thankfullly, before the tradition was lost, some Kiowa elders revived the Gourd Dance in the mid 1950s and officially formed the Gourd Dance Clan.
My daughter-in-law wanted a stacked fetish necklace for Christmas and I felt funny when she asked me for it because, I’m a little embarrassed to say, but I thought it was something obscene. Now I know a little more about it but wonder if you would explain further.
Name Withheld on Request.
No need to be embarrassed – first of all the word fetish could conjure up some uneasy feelings.
From an online dictionary:
1. stacked – arranged in a stack
2. stacked – (of a woman’s body) having a large bosom and pleasing curves
Native American necklace #1.
Odd request for Christmas #2.
So, a Stacked Fetish Necklace is one where the hand carved stone animals are placed closer together than normal, in essence stacked on top of each other. Here is an example of a regular fetish necklace and a stacked fetish necklace by the same artist, Navajo Neil Thomas.
Horace Iule (1901-1978) was a Zuni artist who made a wide variety of sterling silver and stone pieces, most notably traditional Zuni crosses.
Horace worked with his wife Lupe Iule, who was from San Felipe Pueblo. They were married in 1933, and had six children: Ruby, Lupe, Cecilia, Robert, Barney, and Phillip. Cecilia continues in her fathers tradition with the crosses.
Cecilia creates her crosses from tiny to huge and uses coral, turquoise, and other gem stones.
Horace Iule was taught silversmithing by his father. He made sand-cast items and then embellished them with hammering and die stamping. His children use some of his original casting equipment to continue the Iule cross legacy.
All tribes in the Southwest US make small stone carvings. Sacred ones are called fetishes. The Pueblo Indians have developed the use of these carvings and it is the Zuni that are the most skillful stone carvers of the Pueblos. Evidence of fetish use has been documented to pre-Columbian times. Columbian times refer to those that occurred after European influence, or after Columbus landed in the Americas in 1492.
While there were only a few dozen Zuni carvers as recent as 20 or 30 years ago, today there may be as many as 300 Zuni carvers that belong to a dozen or more noted Zuni artist families.
Here are some of the Zuni carvers’ family names:
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For more detailed information on Zuni carving families, refer to Zuni Fetishes & Carvings by Kent McManis.
A Native American fetish is a carving from rock, shell, antler, wood or other material that depicts an animal or other spirit. The carving captures the spirit and the essence of the animal, not necessarily its exact detailed conformation. When a carving has been blessed during a Zuni Medicine ceremony at the winter solstice, it becomes a fetish and is considered sacred. Fetishes are either kept by the carvers or given away to members of their tribe or other people.
Carvings that are very old may have been handed down for generations or have been tribal possessions for hundreds of years. It is believed that these carvings were actually live animals at one time and were petrified into stone beings by a magic bolt of lightning during the drying of the world. There were many such beings all over the earth’s surface which have been found over the years. It is said that whosever is of the good fortune to see such beings should treasure them for the sake of their sacred power which was given to them during the earth’s creation.
Today what we sell and most of what is sold elsewhere as a fetish is actually a rock carving, but it is very common to refer to them as fetishes, so we describe these wonderful stone animals as fetish carvings.
When one believes that a spirit resides in an inanimate object, that is called animism. When an inanimate object, such as a carving reminds one of the spirit of a being, that is a different matter. The difference between the two words is primarily a matter of belief. But in respect to the Zuni tradition, these carvings are not fetishes. However choosing one of these carvings is a very personal matter. If a carving speaks to you and makes you feel a certain way when you look at it, perhaps it is what you have been looking for to put on your desk or carry in your pocket. Similarly, if you are on a walk and you happen upon a stone that is already shaped like a buffalo and you pick it up and make it yours, that is powerful.
According to Zuni traditions, animals are divided up into 3 categories:
1. Game animals are those the furnish flesh to man. Today these animals are often referred to as prey animals because they are the prey of meat-eating predators. This would include deer, elk and rabbit, to name a few.
2. Water animals are those associated sacredly with water, not necessarily just animals who live in the water. This would include the dolphin, frog and the turtle.
3. Prey beings are those animals who hunt other animals to eat. Today these animals are often referred to as predators who prey upon game animals. This would include bear, wolf, and mountain lion.
Traditional carvings, sometimes referred to as “reservation fetishes”, tend to be of the “old style” with few details and are most commonly Prey Beings. Old style carvings are basically rectangular pieces of stone that have been shaped into animal forms. Often it is difficult to differentiate between a bear and wolf, for example, or a wolf and a mountain lion. They all look similar, kind of hunkered to the ground. The old style carvings make one think that the Native American artist saw an animal in a stone and just coaxed it out with a few simple lines. These are often referred to as “concretion fetishes”, stones that require very little carving to bring out or release the animal in the stone.
For hundreds of years, other tribes procured fetishes from the Zuni. While it is not customary for a Zuni to carve domestic animals, such as horses, sheep, cattle and goats, for personal use, they do so for Navajo herdsmen to protect their animals. That is why it is possible to purchase a wide variety of Zuni horse carvings today.
Modern Native American stone carvings can be quite ornate and detailed and very beautiful. They often have much intricate work and various types of inlay. Also, the posture of the animal might be different from that of traditional carving. Modern carvers might depict an animal running, rearing, sitting or standing up on its hind legs. Some carvers give a bear a fish to eat, so the carving becomes a miniature sculpture with a story.