Knifewing – Native American Diety

Who is Knifewing?

Knifewing, also Knife Wing, is a half man – half eagle Zuni spirit or god with razor sharp feathers made of flint. He is the ultimate warrior.

Unmarked vintage knifewing pin

Anthropologist Frank Hamilton Cushing, who lived with the Zunis from 1879-1884 described knifewing this way:

“This curious god is the hero of hundreds of folklore tales, the tutelary deity of several societies of Zuni. He is represented as possessing a human form, furnished with flint knife-feathered pinions, and tail. His dress consists of the conventional terraced cap (representative of his dwelling place among the clouds). His weapons are the Great Flint-Knife of War, the Bow of the Skies (the Rainbow), and the Arrow of Lightning. His guardians or warriors are the Great Mountain Lion of the North and that of the upper regions. He was doubtless the original War God of the Zunis.”

From the Encyclopedia of Native American Jewelry by Paula Baxter:

Baxter

Baxter

From North American Indian Jewelry and Adornment by Dubin

Dubin

Dubin

Horace Iule (also known for his crosses) is credited with creating the first knifewing design in the late 1920s, cut and filed out of hand-wrought silver.

Read more about Horace Iule in The Navajo and Pueblo Silversmiths by Adair

Adair

Adair

Adair

Afterwards, other Zuni, Navajo and Pueblo began producing knifewing designs.

The knifewing became one of the first designs that the Zuni inlaid with stones. An interesting excerpt from Zuni – a Village of Silversmiths

Zuni – a Village of Silversmiths

In this slide show, there are three vintage kinfewing inlay bracelet examples. To see more details on them, visit our Vintage Bracelet section. 

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Below is a slide show of a Sterling silver box with inlay knifewing by Suzie James Navajo

Paula

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Vintage Native American Brooches and Pins Make a Comeback

A brooch is usually a large decorative piece of jewelry pinned to a sweater or dress to complete and outfit and make a bold statement.

A pin is a smaller, simpler item that can be used in a variety of more subtle ways.

Depending on the design, colors, materials and subject matter, a brooch or pin can define an ensemble and the person wearing it !

For a while, it seemed like brooches got a bad rap – maybe due to the gaudy and clunky costume jewelry brooch that often comes to mind.

But recently both brooches and pins have made a strong comeback in the fashion world. So it is a perfect time to get out your vintage and new Native American pins and use them in all kinds of ways. Here are some ideas from classic to unique and a pin that I think would work for each specific use:

At the center of a neckline

NPP485-sunface-unkestine-1

On a collar

NPN753-AB-bee-yazzie-A

Anywhere on a jacket or coat

NPN781-knifewing-woody-1

On a scarf to adorn and/or hold it in place

PN440-WB-stamped-repousse-multi-AP-1

To keep a blouse or shirt buttoned

PN441-petit-turq-350w

 

On a clutch purse

PN436-WB-sandcast-turq-1

On the strap of a purse or backpack

NPN768-AB-kokopelli-perry-A-1

Anywhere on denim, pockets, lapels, anything goes

NPC702-AB-PP-spiny-brown-A

On the strap of a tank top

NPP452-lizard-turq-ration-1

To draw attention to or away from an area

NPN714-cluster-wilson-1

With a hair scrunchie or headband

P190-OS-PP-turq-hannaweekea-1

On a hat

P326-AB-WB-circle-multi-A

On shoes or boots

PN438-WB-sandcast-bow-turq-1

On a turtleneck

PN411-coral-abalone-1

As a pendant – for this you can use the pin itself to hang onto a necklace or between the beads of a necklace.

NPP436-bowcluster-coral-skeets-1

Or you can you can use a pin to pendant converter to help.

CON4H-850w

What are some other ways to use a pin or brooch?

Paula

What is the purpose of this piece of jewelry?

May 5, 2014
Hi Paula,
I have a piece of jewelry and am unsure of it’s  purpose  It is circular, 3 inches in diameter, Zuni style inlay on sterling silver. There is a round center piece, surrounded by two outer layers of tear drop shaped turquoise, There are four  loops  at equal distance around the  back perimeter edge.
I do not know if it might be a grandmother’s pin or a bolo, or a pendent. The pawn tag is still attached but simply reads pawn 1969.
Thank you for any help you may be able to provide.
Becky
photo 1 photo 2June 23, 2014
Hi Becky,
To me it looks like it could be either Zuni or Navajo made in a Zuni style.
It is a classic petit point cluster.
I think it is intended to be sewn onto clothing or a costume – perhaps used on a head piece, a wrist band, belt or sash.
NPP420-cluster-turq-stead-1

Maybe other readers have some other ideas as to its use.
Paula
To view our full list of article or to ask a jewelry question, follow the instructions here
http://www.horsekeeping.com/native-american-jewelry-artifacts.htm
If you are selling your jewelry, read this
http://www.horsekeeping.com/jewelry/pawn-buying.htm
Visit our pawn shop for your research and shopping
http://www.horsekeeping.com/jewelry/pawn/pawnshop-vin.htm
NPN714-cluster-wilson-1

Zuni Grandmother Pin – Justin Wilson

EH Hallmark on a Horse Pin

Hi Paula,

I recently purchased a silver horse pin at a gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona. The pin was of a running Appaloosa horse. The jagged mane and tail are shiny while the body is textured. There are seven shiny dots on the horses rump signifying it being an appaloosa and a raised dot for the eye. It’s hard to make out the hallmark, but it looks like a cursive EH. Thanks for helping me identify the artist. Susan

Here is a picture of the horse. I had the pin made into a pendant. The hallmark is too small to photo, but it is located on the backside -upper mane. Thanks Paula!!!

IMG_9847Hi Susan,

Great idea to make that great little horse pin into a pendant.

The artist is Ervin Hoskie, Navajo. We’ve had several of his pins in our store in the past but not lately.

frolicky-app hopalongPaula

To view our full list of article or to ask a jewelry question, follow the instructions here
http://www.horsekeeping.com/native-american-jewelry-artifacts.htm

If you are selling your jewelry, read this
http://www.horsekeeping.com/jewelry/pawn-buying.htm

Visit our pawn shop for your research and shopping
http://www.horsekeeping.com/jewelry/pawn/pawnshop-vin.htm

rearingpaint-1

Lee Charley, Navajo

Copper Jewelry – Characteristics, Care, Reaction with Skin and Health Benefits

Copper Characteristics

Copper is a pure elemental metal, CU on the periodic table. It is reddish brown and is soft enough so that it is malleable which means you can shape and bend it fairly easily.

Copper oxidizes and darkens when it comes in contact with the air in the environment. It tends to get to a certain dark color but then it doesn’t get any darker.

If you’ve ever seen copper roofs that have turned green, that is what is called copper patina. The copper has reacted with the environment and rain, especially if it is acidic rain.

The same sort of thing can happen when copper comes in contact with your skin if your skin is acidic. The acids in your skin combine with copper and make copper salts which are green. They are harmless and can simply be washed off.

Copper Care

Copper develops a patina, much like sterling silver, but faster and darker, especially in the presence of heat, sunlight, sweat, swimming pools and chlorine water, chemicals and cosmetics. Remove copper jewelry before bathing, swimming, doing dishes, putting on lotion or makeup.

Some people love the deep rich look of vintage copper while others like the bright shiny bronze look of clean copper.

Storage
Keep cooper in a cool, dry place. If possible, store in an anti-tarnish pouch, box or cloth. If you have none of these, use a tightly sealing plastic bag to keep air from contacting the copper items. Adding a strip of anti-tarnish paper can also slow down tarnish.

Cleaning
Effective cleaning products for copper are highly acidic. Here are some methods for cleaning a solid copper item with no stones or gems.

Lemon Juice

  • Lay a cloth on your kitchen counter, one that you don’t mind getting dirty.
  • Place your copper item in a glass or ceramic bowl on the cloth.
  • Squirt lemon juice over the item.
  • Move the item in the liquid so that all surfaces have a chance to react with the lemon juice.
  • Use a toothbrush to scrub the lemon juice in the crevices.
  • Rinse.
  • Wash with warm water and soap, using your toothbrush again if necessary.
  • Dry

Salt and Vinegar Soak

  • Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 cup of vinegar to 2 quarts of boiling water.
  • Remove the pot from the heat.
  • Dip the copper item in the liquid, rinse and dry.

Lemon Juice Salt Paste

  • Mix lemon juice and salt together until you have a paste which you can use for deep cleaning.
  • Apply with a cloth or toothbrush as appropriate.
  • Rinse
  • Dry

To make a paste that you can apply and leave on an item for a deeper cleanse, you can make a thicker paste by adding some flour to the above lemon-salt paste.

Ketchup and Worcestershire sauce have been noted to be excellent copper cleaners but more expensive than the home preparations above.

To maintain the shine, you can buff a copper piece with an anti-tarnish cloth.

Reaction between copper and your skin

If you have ever had a copper bracelet that started to turn green or even turn your skin green, you might have been turned off by copper.

The green color results from an individual’s body chemistry at a particular time. Two people can wear the same bracelet and one person’s wrist will turn green and the other’s will not. A person can wear a copper bracelet one day with no green marks and the next day green marks might appear.

What does the green tell you? The green color means that your skin has become more acidic and has dissolved copper from the bracelet faster than the body can absorb it. This usually happens when we sweat, when we are stressed, when we experience dietary changes, mainly a poor diet (think junk food).
Green marks might also appear when the body is deficient in copper so is trying to obtain it a rate faster than it can absorb.

When the body is in a state of homeostasis, the copper is absorbed through the skin at the same rate it is dissolved from the bracelet so there are no green marks.

Some makers of copper jewelry, put a coating (sealer) on the copper item to preserve it and prevent the copper from interacting with the wearer’s skin. But then, the purported health benefits of wearing copper would not be achieved.

Is there a health benefit to wearing copper?

There are many who swear by the health benefits of wearing copper (copper bracelet manufacturers) while others have the opposite viewpoint.

Most everyone agrees that wearing copper jewelry does no harm.

Proponents of the benefits say copper does some or all of the following and more:

  • Provide necessary copper by absorption through the skin.
  • Relive arthritis, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome pain etc.
  • Clear the body of toxins.
  • Aid in healing.

To decide for yourself, here are some interesting articles on copper:

Copper and Your Health from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Beneficial Therapeutic Effect of Copper Bracelets – Life Extension

Medical View of Effectiveness of Copper Bracelets – Creighton University

Health Benefits of Copper Bracelets – eHow Health

Medicinal Effects of Copper Bracelets – Scientia Press

Visit our Copper Shop to find all kinds of vintage copper treasures !

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Bell Trading Post History and Hallmarks

Bell Trading Post was founded in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1932 by Jack Michelson and his wife Mildred. They sold southwest style jewelry at various tourist locations in the United States.

CSB69-7-knifewing-wide-bell-1

Bell Trading Post got its name from Jack’s wife, whose maiden name was Bell.

The types of jewelry sold by Bell Trading Post included sterling silver, nickel silver, gold, and copper.

To see a selection of  Bell Trading Post jewelry, visit our Copper Shop.   Here are some examples:

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Their main competitor was The Maisel Company until Maisel’s closed in 1968.

In 1969, Sunbell Corporation was formed and included these merchandise lines: Bell Jewelry (which now carried the Sunbell hallmark), Gregorian Copper Ware, and Oglala Lakota moccasins from Pine Ridge South Dakota. Sunbell also purchased Maisel’s inventory.

Sunbell Corporation

Sunbell Corporation catalog

Gregorian Copper Ware

Gregorian Copper Ware catalog

 

Pine Ridge moccasins

catalog page showing the Pine Ridge moccasins

Sunbell continued to offer jewelry items, now with the Sunbell hallmark,  as well as giftware and moccasins until the late 1980s. 

Over the years numerous hallmarks were used on items sold by Bell Trading Post and Sunbell. The hallmarks typically included the image of a bell or that of an arrow sign post with a bell sign hanging from it. Shown here are just a few of Bell Trading Post’s hallmarks.

According to a reader who researched the trademark records, the mark “Bell Jewelry”  was first used in 1935.

The “Arrow post hanging bell sign” was first used in 1961.

Bell Trading Company hallmark   Bell Trading Company hallmark   Bell Trading Company hallmark  Bell Trading Company hallmark

Bell Trading Company hallmark     Bell Trading Company hallmark   Bell Trading Company hallmark

When the name changed to Sunbell, this is the hallmark often used.

sunbell cropped

February 2019

I originally wrote this article in 2011 but just updated it after receiving a note from Jacquelyn Michelson: “As the Daughter of Jack and Mildred Michelson you are incorrect in your facts about the Bell Trading Post. It was never called Bell Trading Company and Bell never merged with The Maisel Company in 1935. They remained fierce competitors until the 70’s when Sunbell Corporation bought the Maisel Company. Please correct your facts. Thank you”.

So I thanked Jacquelyn for taking the time to write and I have corrected the errors in my article and added more information and photos courtesy of Jacquelyn. I’m so glad she wrote, how else would I have known !!

I now want to share with you some references that I had used originally and that I dug out again today as I rewrote this article. I am including them all so you can review the information and draw your own conclusions. As is often the case, things aren’t always black and white.

An article online entitled Bell Trading Post, Albuquerque, NM (1932 -1969)

Although that article seems to provide some good information, Jacquelyn Michelson did point out there are a few errors, in particular this sentence:

“Then in 1957 Jack Michelson pasted away4 leaving the company to his two sons, Jack and Douglas.”

Well not only should that have said passed away, not pasted away, it should have said:

Then in 1957 Jack Michelson passed, leaving the company to his two sons, Jack and Douglas and his daughter Jacquelyn who was a proud and active part of the business. It was Jacquelyn who came up with the name Sunbell and the logo when Sunbell became a corporation.

 

 

An excellent book Reassessing Hallmarks of Native Southwest Jewelry by Pat and Kim Messier.  I’m showing one excerpt here but there are other discussions on this topic and much more !

Scan10001

Mssier excerpt

In the book Fred Harvey Jewelry, there is a timeline that states Maisel’s and Bell merged in 1935 which Jacquelyn Michelson says did not happen.

The author of the above book referenced the following book as the source for the merger information. Here is the book cover and the page referenced.

Finally, this is another reference with much about Bell Trading Post, Maisel’s and more.

Scan1

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Vintage Native American Thunderbird Pin Wanted

Dear Paula,
Is it possible to get another thunderbird like the vintage P133?  the new thunderbirds do not look like this one.  Thank you very much.
Navajo
Sterling Silver Vintage Thunderbird Pendant #P133

John

Dear John,

Thanks for writing. The items in our pawn shop are older items and we get them in, usually in a lot such as from somebody’s collection or an estate lot, so there would be no way of predicting when we might get something similar to that Thunderbird pendant in. It looks a little more Pacific Northwest to me rather than Southwest.

You could keep an eye on our NEW page which is where we list something new each day – and that means pawn items as well as new contemporary.
I’ve just listed a few new Thunderbirds which I think you might like……….

These wonderful old style pins are made from heavy gauge sterling silver plate; hand cut, deeply hand-stamped, smoothed and polished leaving some areas intentionally oxidized or darkened. A polished turquoise stone is set in a handcut smooth bezel. A twisted sterling silver rope encircles the bezel. Albert Cleveland typically uses King Manassas turquoise, known for its brilliant greens with gold or brown matrix. They have a locking pin finding. Very retro.

Albert Cleveland is of the Dashchanii clan and was born on the Navajo reservation near Mt. Taylor. He and his wife live near Gallup, New Mexico. His brother is Bobby Cleveland and his parents Etta and Philip Cleveland. Cleveland signs his pieces AC if he works on them alone or AJC when his wife Jacqualine works with him. Albert Cleveland works in a retro style, reminiscent of the 1940’s curio shop work which featured Native American symbols such as Eagles, Thunderbirds, Bears, Waterbirds and other animals.


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