May 20, 2014
Hi Paula, thanks for taking the time to read my email.
So I have been an admirer of southwestern jewelry since my early childhood going to flea markets and estate sales with my parents.
No that I’m older an can afford to buy some I have begun to develope a small collection of men’s bracelet and rings.
So onto my question:
While shopping at an estate sale this weekend, I came across LITERALLY the most amazing piece of SW jewelry I have ever seen. Firstly, It is HEAVY (I haven’t weighed it but the band is like a THICK and the cuff is 2 inches wide on the wrist).
Secondly there is an engraved geometric insect disign on the top side with a big polished hunk of quality (bisbee?, blue mountain? Turquoise) making up the insects abdomen section.
Now the most interesting/unique part is that when you flip the cuff over the inside of the band has an absolutely AMAZING geometric coral/onyx/turquoise/wood inlaid disign occupying the entire inside band.
It is signed in old style script (which has been half rub off – by taking it on and off I presume) from what it looks like, it reads B. Jexxxxx … I researched pretty extensively online and can’t find any signatures or really even jewelry examples that are seem very similar to it. I was hoping you could give me some insight, or point my research inthe right direction.
So in your opinion, this piece looks to be authentic native american? Contemporary or vintage/antique? I am a newbie to the collecting field and have limited knowledge to things of this quality. I love the piece regardless (it’s just so darn pretty).
Also, None of this information you provide will be used to sell this piece – I love it way to much to ever sell it – I bought it has a birthday present to myself, and can say with all honesty, that it makes me happier than just about anything I have ever purchased for myself.
Thanks again for taking the time to respond, and for providing a valuable resource to those of us new to collecting Native American Jewelry.
Paula, Here are the best photos i could get of the signature…. at first I thought it was a script B. Te….. much of the signature has been rubbed off over time… I spent time yesterday looking at native silver smith hallmarks and the best i could come up with was Doris Smallcanyon…. as she seems to sometimes sign her name with a big looping D. and a stylized S
Again, thanks so much for taking the time.
Hope to hear black for you,
Your beautiful and unique bracelet is the work of Bobby Tewa (Bobby Darrell, Tewanoitewa) , a San Juan Tewa/Hopi silversmith that began work in 1974. He was a silversmith for Santa Fe Associates Inc. and began using this hallmark in 1980.
He was born in 1948 and is an award winning artist of mosaic inlay and overlay. He lives in San Juan Pueblo, New Mexico.
His items have won awards, have been exhibited in various markets and books and are in collections, including the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.
He learned his craft from the San Juan jewelry program and served in the US Marine Corps.
Now that you know the artist’s name you could type in “Bobby Tewa” in google and then click images and you will see more examples of his work plus a few photos of the artist himself.
You found a treasure ! Enjoy.
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