The Clothing Store Collection

The Clothing Store Collection

This collection is from the estate of a woman who owned and operated retail clothing stores in Pinetop and Show Low, Arizona from 1973 to the mid 1980s.

She ran the stores on a day to day basis and knew many of the Santo Domingo, Navajo and Zuni women who shopped in her stores. They would often bring in their hand-made jewelry to trade for clothing. She was glad to trade with the women and she sold their jewelry in her stores.

The store owner’s heir, her son, said that since his mother knew the women personally, she never wrote down their names so he has no record of who made the jewelry items she took in on trade.

The work is beautifully done and the materials are excellent – perhaps you will recognize the work of one of your favorite collectible artists from the 1970s and 1980s.  Visit the necklaces from the clothing store collection by clicking here.

Here are some jaclas.

Here are some jacla style necklaces

Delicate bird fetish necklaces – watch the slide show

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Beautiful turquoise stone necklaces from when when turquoise was a little easier to purchase !


Authentic Native American Indian Fetish Necklaces

To begin talking about Native American fetish necklaces, first a little bit about fetishes.

A Native American fetish is a stone or shell carving and sometimes antler or wood, usually in the image of an animal.

Zuni Horse Fetish made of Acoma Jet

Indian fetishes can be carried or displayed. Those that are carried are often called pocket fetishes.

Lakota Pipestone Buffalo Fetish – makes a great pocket fetish because of its smooth surface and sturdy construction.

Those that are displayed are called table fetishes.

Zuni Deer Fetish carved from Antler

Zuni artists are the traditional fetish carvers but there are many talented Navajo carvers as well.

Pig by Stanton Hannaweeke – Zuni

Bobcat by Navajo Herbert Davis

To read more about fetishes, see my other blog posts:

Native American Fetish Carvings – What are they used for?

Animal Fetish Powers

Types of Native American Fetishes

Serpentine used in Native American Fetish Carvings

Native American Terms – Fetish, Totem, Amulet, Talisman

How Do I Display Zuni Native American Fetish Carvings?

Native American Fetishes – Zuni Carving Families

The Power of Native American Fetish Carvings – Story of the Midnight Bear

Native American Stone Fetish Carvings – Six Directions

How Zuni Navajo Native American Fetishes Are Made



Vintage Fetish Necklace – origin unknown

Native American fetish necklaces are made with small fetishes that are drilled and strung like beads with fine shell, turquoise or jet heishi in between. Just like with pocket and table fetishes, fetish necklaces are made by both Navajo and Zuni artists.

AND BEWARE !! There are many NON- Native American fetish necklaces. They are usually made overseas and sold as Native American. BAD !!! Below is a slide show of 3 common imported, faux Native American necklaces. When we get items like this in an estate lot, we sell them in our Bargain Barn.

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Like any Native American item, buy directly from the maker or from a trusted seller.

Navajo horse fetish necklace


The animals can vary but often include birds, bears, horses, mountain lions, turtles, foxes, wolves and many others.

Zuni fetish necklace with many animals

The stones and shells usually used include turquoise, mother of pearl, pink shell, acoma jet, serpentine, pipestone and many others.

Navajo Fetish Necklace

Here are some more of my blog posts that relate to fetish necklaces:

What is a stacked necklace? More on Navajo and Zuni Fetish Necklaces

Are these Bird Fetish Necklaces Authentic Native American made?

44 Bird Fetish Necklace – is it Native American made?

Stacked Fetish Necklace – is it authentic Native American made?

Wanted – A Six Directions Fetish Necklace Set

Native American Fetish Necklace – Signed by Artist?

Native American Wearable Art – Stacked Fetish Necklace

Hector Goodluck Monument Valley Fetish Necklace

Native American Fetish Necklace – Mother or Grandmother Necklace

Bird Fetish Necklace from Goodwill


Raven Crow Medicine

Lakota Kangi Pejuta Medicine Bag

Lakota Kangi Pejuta Medicine Bag. Kangi Pejuta means Medicine Crow.

RAVEN/CROW –  Raven and Crow are very similar in their strengths: both carry great responsibility to Spirit and are the messengers of magic and healing from the universe where all knowledge waits for us.

Raven Crow Feather Necklace by Apache artist Cynthia Whitehawk

NP574-feather-raven-whitehawk-2 Raven Crow Feather Necklace by Apache artist Cynthia Whitehawk

They also symbolize changes in consciousness, levels of awareness and perception.

Zuni Raven Fetishes

FF306-raven-pooacha-1 Zuni Raven Fetishes

Shamans, Spiritualists and Healers using Raven/Crow Medicine are able to use their gifts with deeper clarity, understanding and insight, developing greater power and skill in their abilities and their means to help one move forward in life.

Kangi Pejuta Smudge Kit

Kangi Pejuta Smudge Kit

Raven Crow Medicine Smudge Feather

Raven Crow Spirit Smudge fan by Apache artist Cynthia Whitehawk

Raven Crow Spirit Smudge fan by Apache artist Cynthia Whitehawk

Raven Crow Medicine Pouch

Raven Crow Medicine Pouch with hand carved and painted buffalo bone raven feather. Cynthia Whitehawk


Zuni Buffalo Fetish Carving
Raven – Crow – A symbol of Magic, Mystery, and a Shift in Consciousness
(from our conversations with Lakota and Apache healers)

44 Bird Fetish Necklace – is it Native American made?

May 13, 2014

Hi Paula,

When attending a Fair in upper state NY, about 14 years ago, I purchased what I think is a bird fetish necklace, from a Native American group that attended the Fair to present a ritual dance. They brought with them difference medicine items, jewelry etc..

The colors and the bird attracted me to get it after debating for a while didn’t know if is something that I wanted or needed.  Finally after a while before leaving the fair I purchase the necklace and I paid $50 for it.

Is a 1 strand necklace, 24 inches long (with silver or silver metal clasp) and contains 44 carved birds that are each different size and shape and colors. It has after the birds 44 stones, also in different colors and shape, and small beads separate the pair (the bird and the stone) so for every pair is a small bead.

Not sure how many colors are in the necklace. I never research on line and I’m curious to know is this necklace represent a symbol on the Native American Culture. I read about the spiritual path of the Native American and has always intrigue me. 

Thank you for your time, and I hope you can give me a little information. I have seeing your web site and I love you display of jewelry.

Again thank you for your time.


!cid_17D60196-7DA9-42D6-84D1-6173F0BAA3E1 !cid_600CDB27-E2DD-415E-97BD-743CAFFDD130Dear Maria,

Thank you for your patience. As you can see, due to the volume of questions we receive, it takes about two months for a question to work its way to the top of the queue.

I’m going to have to pass on this one because I don’t recognize the style, the white beads near the cones nor the pink or blue stones or shells used for the birds.

I’m just not familiar with this particular type of fetish necklace so when that occurs, I err on the side of caution and say “Not Native American made” to the best of my knowledge.

Perhaps another reader has seen a necklace something like this and can say one way or another.

It is lovely and especially how you have displayed it in the shape of a heart.

As always, it is best at the time of purchase to obtain all the information and a Certificate of Authenticity if possible and tuck it away with the item.


To view our full list of article or to ask a jewelry question, follow the instructions here

If you are selling your jewelry, read this

Visit our pawn shop for your research and shopping


Bird Fetish Necklace from Goodwill

Hi Paula,I recently purchased from “Shop Goodwill” what may be a Zuni bird fetish necklace, but I am wondering if it is authentic. The 2-strand necklace is 30 inches long (without the clasp) and contains 72 carved birds that are each one-inch long.  The stones used for the bird carvings are several different colors. Due to possible color variations within one stone type, I am not sure if there are 5, 6, or 7 colors included. The spacers between the birds appear to be shell.I have searched online, and this doesn’t look like cheap fakes from other countries. However, the clasp looks a little different than I would expect based on other Native American necklaces.  And some of the birds are upside down.

Thanks for asking to see photos of the necklace. I paid $90 for it and am trying to find out if is Native American made.

Thanks for your time. I know you get a lot of requests, and I enjoy looking through your website.


bird fetish necklace 30 inch strands necklace bird close upHi Susan,

It is a very pretty necklace in very good condition. The photos are great.

The hand made clasp seems like a very familiar style I have seen on vintage necklaces or contemporary hand made necklaces.

The shell heishi is done very nicely.

The birds and the stones used for the birds, I’m not so sure about. The birds look so very similar to each other as to almost appear to be production made. And some of the stones I can’t identify. For example, the red birds do not appear to be made of coral or orange spiny oyster, two typically used materials in Native American made fetish necklaces.

As far as whether this is Native American carved, my gut feeling is no.

It could be Native strung from components that could have been made in the US or other places such as the Philippines.

I wish I could be of more help.  Paula

To view our full list of article or to ask a jewelry question, follow the instructions here

If you are selling your jewelry, read this

Visit our pawn shop for your research and shopping


Stacked Fetish Necklace – is it authentic Native American made?

I just bought a stacked fetish necklace the other day and was wondering how I could figure out if it authentic or not. All the shop owner could tell me that it was Zuni but had no info on the artist or materials used so I was a little hesitant to purchase it but it it was so gorgeous I had to! Any help would be appreciated!! Thanks


necklace0 necklace1 necklace2Hi Jaya,

Fetish necklaces are carved by both Zuni and Navajo carvers. I’ve found that authentic Zuni made fetish necklaces are about 5 times the price of a similar one made by a Navajo carver.

There are also many fetish necklaces that are NOT Native American made, most from outside the US.

The time to find out about an item of Native American jewelry is at the time of purchase. If you purchase directly from the artist, you have the opportunity to ask about materials and why the artist uses a particular animal as the pendant drop for example.

If you are buying from a merchant who says “This is Zuni, but I don’t know who made it” my first reaction is “Then how do you know it is Zuni and where did YOU get it ? Apparently not from the artist directly.

Especially with a Zuni necklace which would be quite costly, the seller should know the maker.  If this was a vintage piece, I could see where the seller might not know who made the piece, but yours looks very contemporary.

To ask me, after the fact, from a photo, if it is authentic, well, I am just going to give you my initial reaction.

You don’t show the whole necklace but I assume that is a squaw wrap treatment – that is a plus.

But the animals themselves, I don’t  recognize that style and it certainly doesn’t look like Zuni work.

I could be mistaken but I suspect this might be a non-Native American made necklace.

Use this quick way to search on eBay which may or may not tell you more. In the search box, type “stacked fetish necklace” then when the search results come up, over to the right you’ll see the word “Advanced”. Click on that and then click on “Sold listings” under the Search Including category. Then click the Search button. That will populate a list with photos you can look at to compare to your necklace and you will see what each sold for.

I hope others that read the blog might chime in !!

You can browse our fetish necklace section; the majority of ours are by Navajo carvers.



Hooks on Native American Necklaces

Dear Paula,
I foolishly went to bed last night with my new coral necklace hooked around my neck.
I woke up in the morning and it was gone.
I could have lost it at the shops as I was in and out of bed trying to get to sleep and then we went to the shops late last night, I have searched all the crevices of my room and all places and it is just gone.
That hook they use at the back, I should have bent it shut if I wanted to leave it on, that’s what I do with my other hooks or I should have just taken it off before I go to bed.
What a shame! I scrimped and saved for that necklace and I so loved it, it was one-of a kind vintage!
Please get back to me any advice you do have about those hooks they use, and please help me for next time!
Thanks, Ruby
PS  My adopted Dad just found it! I am so pleased!  It was in between the doorway of my room and the hall way.
I have bent the hook shut, and can take it off over my head when I shower.
Any advice would still be appreciated.
Love Ruby
Hi Ruby, Phew !! That’s good news. Yes, bend the hook shut like you did – that’s what most people do who want to take a necklace on and off over their heads. Traditionally the hooks are left open at first because some people have arthritis or other difficulty with their hands and need a big open hook in order to get it fastened.
Usually when a necklace is hanging straight down it won’t come unfastened. I can see where it would come off if you wore it to bed. But like you found, it is easy to squish the hook closed for more security.

More on Navajo and Zuni Fetish Necklaces

There is a term associated with fetish necklaces – stacked.

That refers to fetishes strung one right on the top of one another rather than separated by a length of heishi. If heishi is used, it can be pen shell, olive shell, white clam shell, turquoise, jet or other.

Here are some examples of the various heishi that is used in between fetishes.

Pen shell heishi with turquoise heishi accent
Jet heishi
Pink shell heishi
Turquoise heishi

Here is an example of a “semi-stacked” fetish necklace, that is, one that has just a small amount of heishi in between each fetish.

Semi-stacked fetish necklace

Here are some examples of true stacked fetish necklaces, those that are fetish on fetish.

Stacked Fetish Necklace
Stacked fetish necklace
Close-up of stacked fetish necklace

Every artist has his or her own vision of what a fetish necklace should look like:

  • the size of the fetishes

  • the style of the fetishes

  • the stones and shells used for the fetishes

  • the stones and shells used for the heishi

  • the space between the fetishes

  • the type of closure (more on that in tomorrow’s post).

Sterling Silver Animal Fetish Necklace – Information Please?

Hi Paula

I have a sterling animal fetish necklace that I would like to know more about it’s origin’s. There are 6 animals about 1/2 long each, hooked together, with a different colored stone in each one. On the back of each animal is a word associated with that animal spirit. A bear – healing,phoenix happiness, a fish – change, a dove – vision, a turtle – wisdom and a fox – swift. It is signed (initials can’t read) and marked ster. Any help? Jacquie

FetishNeckFull resized front

Hi Jacquie,

You have a very nice necklace here ! I’ve not seen one like it. Although it does have some similar characteristics to Native American jewelry, I doubt that it is. I’ve not seen a authentic Native American necklace with words on the back like this one. Because each piece is stamped Sterling, I’d guess it was from the late 70’s or early 80’s or later.  Let me know if you can ever read the hallmark initials – that would be helpful.

Perhaps someone else reading this blog will have seen a necklace like this and will post some more information.

You said you’d “love to know what it is worth”.  I don’t do appraisals from photos and with something like this, I’d say its worth whatever someone is willing to pay ! Because the fetishes are 1/2″ long, I am assuming this is not a very heavy necklace. But it is cute, unique and colorful !  Enjoy !


Are these Bird Fetish Necklaces Authentic Native American made?

Paula, we have bird fetish necklace and earrings to go with it (3 sets). The birds appear to be hand craved and detailed. We have done some research but are unable to find another necklace like this one instead of colored beads between the birds there are silver beads. Just trying to find out who made it and if it is authentic. It is in excellent condition as it has been stored away for years. Thank for your help. Tom

Is this authentic Native American made?

Close-up of bird necklace - Native American made??

Hi Tom,

I’ve never seen a Zuni or Navajo fetish necklace made with silver beads between the birds. And I’ve not seen birds carved in this particular shape before. With both of those things being said, it is possible that these could be an exception. However, from what I can see, I’m thinking they are not Native American made. I’m posting the photos so that if another reader has seen something like this from perhaps Mexico or the Philippines, you might get some feedback on these necklaces.

As your research has shown you, typically there is heishi made of penn shell, olive shell, turquoise, coral or other shell or stone material in between the carved animals. And in the case of birds, the two most common and traditional bird shapes are a longer general “song bird” or a hummingbird, some examples below.

Coral birds with coral heishi by Navajo Hector Goodluck

Turquoise Birds with turquoise heishi by Hector Goodluck, Navajo

Mixed Stone Hummingbirds with Penn Shell and Turqoise Heishi by Corrine Ramirez, Navajo

Orange Tip Olive Shell Birds with Olive Shell heishi and turquoise nuggets by James and Doris Coriz, Santo Domingo