What is a “Married” piece of Native American jewelry?

The term “married” is sometimes used in the Native American jewelry trade to refer to a piece that is comprised of work from two or more eras and/or by two or more artists.

It is generally a complimentary term, that is, the piece is still authentic Native American made but it has had modifications.

If the piece loses its authenticity or artistic appeal, instead of calling it a marriage, it might be called a “bastard” or just a plain old “mess”.

Here are some examples of pieces that have had modifications.

This concho belt had a broken belt and lost its buckle somewhere along the way. Each of the conchos is hallmarked BL, artist unknown. I added a similar New Old Stock (NOS) buckle to the belt. The buckle is hallmarked CARSON B STERLING, for Navajo Carson Blackgoat. I added a new leather belt. So this concho belt is now a married piece in that it has vintage conchos made by one silversmith, a buckle by another and a new belt.

“Married” concho belt with vintage conchos by BL, buckle by Carson Blackgoat and new leather.

Adding a complimentary buckle to a buckle-less belt makes a useful marriage

Similarly this repousse concho belt lost its buckle. Because the remaining conchos were with and without stones, I was able to find a vintage buckle by Floyd Arviso that complemented the plain conchos.

Conchos on the belt that needed a buckle

Repousee buckle by Floyd Arviso


“Married” repousse concho belt

This next example is not so clear cut. The vintage inlay shell pendant probably lost its necklace which is not hard to imagine since many of the stone necklaces commonly used with such a pendant would be strung on string which could have degraded over time and broken.

So it appears that someone tried to make the pendant useful by drilling several holes and suspending the pendant by wire from a turquoise nugget necklace.

Although the two pieces might be Native American made, the way they are put together seems odd so this is a rocky marriage at best. Still it is a historic pendant and lovely necklace.

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2 thoughts on “What is a “Married” piece of Native American jewelry?

  1. Hello everyone ! I’m brand new to this site ! I LOVE and have been collective Native American jewelry of all kinds since I’m 16 ( I’m now 40). I just bought 5 new pieces. And I’m super psyched!! I WISH I could have someone help me with the hallmarks – to find out HOW TO understand them- what they mean and what era the piece might be from. I just bought a HUGE Chimney Butte spiny oyster and silver cluster ring that’s got some kind of pearly- silver ish – glittery – like cabochon middle stone – I think it’s got to be a druzy – and orange spiny oyster cabochons all around- a Chimney butte silver n Deep purple huge triangle pendant , I think – Calico lake 5 strand turquoise necklace, a beautiful rectangular WJ Pantero marked ring w/ what looks like Sleeping beauty and inyx inlay ring and another ring that’s just beautiful n very light. Looks like Dry Creek. Is anyone familiar w hallmarks and time eras ??? Or where I can look ?? Thxxxxx sooooo much !!!

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