Native American Jewelry – Hallmark on Squash Blossom Necklace

Hello Paula,

Thank you for the beautiful Terry Martinez bracelet !  I recently bought a beautiful green turquoise squash blossom necklace ( I love green!) at Hubbell Trading Post but do not know the artist – looks like old pawn – but says “sterling” on it – also initials LFK. Any idea how I could research the artist?

AH

Hello AH,

On the squash blossom necklace, are the three letters all the same size (or is the F larger?) and are the letters in plain Gothic letters or script and are there any periods after any of the letters?

Paula

No, the letters are all the same size and very close together – no periods. But thank you for trying to help me – the necklace does seem older – the beads are rather large and are melons I was told – very beautiful – not a real shiny necklace – looks used. I was told it was silver and the stones were turquoise but did not ask about the artist – the lady at Hubbell’s had written the artists names on the receipts for me but I did not look at the receipt for the necklace until we had left – no artist name was given for this piece. Just looked closer in the light and on one of the squash blossoms the letters are there also – and the F is faint but could be longer – no periods tho. The word sterling is also on this squash blossom.  Is this usual?

Generally if the piece is marked Sterling, it might be used but not real old. That seems to be more of a recent trend, say 80s and later. And even initial hallmarks are more of a “modern” trend, same time frame.

Before that, most pieces had no sterling designation, no initials, no letter hallmarks but might have had symbols like arrows, claws, thunderclouds etc.

Quite a number of contemporary artist are making things in the “old style”, that is, old design patterns and pieces and antiqued to look old. Here is an example of a brand new contemporary bracelet made to look like it has a 20 year old patina.
An example of a contemporary Native American bracelet with antiquing

An example of a contemporary Native American bracelet with antiquing

Although melon beads are an old-style bead, a few contemporary artists such as Virginia Tso are making them. This example is also antiqued. The melon beads are the long ones in the photo.
An example of contemporary Native American antiqued melon beads

An example of contemporary Native American antiqued melon beads


The reason I asked about the size of the letters in the hallmark is that sometimes two artists, such as two brothers or two sisters or a husband and wife team will put the last name initial in the middle slightly bigger and then either of their first names on the sides. For example the belt buckle below has the hallmark LLC which stands for Leslie and Gladys Lamy two talented Zuni artists. Often when more than one artist is credited on a piece, it means that one does the stone work and the other does the silver work.
Inlay Zuni Belt Buckle by Leslie and Gladys Lamy

Inlay Zuni Belt Buckle by Leslie and Gladys Lamy

In the case of your squash blossom necklace, the LFK could stand for something like (and this is a hypothetical example, not real names) Linda and Ken Francisco or it could stand for (another hypothetical example) Lawrence F King. However, I can not find LFK in any of my hallmark books. And most last names that begin with K are Zuni and since your squash blossom is Navajo, I’m leaning more toward F being the last name.

But the bottom line is that your best bet, as always, is to contact the seller and ask them – it would be the most certain and definitive answer, otherwise anyone else would be guessing……….and I don’t even have a good guess on this one!

Best of luck and come see us again. Enjoy that beautiful bracelet !


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