What kind of turquoise is in this Nickel Silver Bell Pendant?

Hi Paula,

I have a pendant stamped with Nickel Silver and the Bell emblem.  What I’m wondering about is the turquoise that is in it.  It has a large flat oval piece in the center which is surrounded by 10 round pieces.  The pendant is about 2″ in size.

I’ve read your list of types of turquoise to try to identify it.  It has no veining in it at all, and is a very clear, consistent color of turquoise.  In fact, it really doesn’t look like real turquoise at all to me.  How can I tell what it is?
pendant.mason1 pendant.mason2Hi Vicki,
Taking into consideration the color and consistency and that this is a Nickel pendant, I’d say this is imitation turquoise.
Here is a nickel bracelet with faux turquoise in our pawn shop for your reference.
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


pawn shop logo

Origin of Stamped Cuff Bracelet please……….

Hello Paula,
This cuffed bracelet is the only item I saved from my “play” jewelry as a child.  It was probably given to me from my grandmother about 40 or 50 years ago.  I have no other history about it.
Do you recognize this stamped symbols on this bracelet or possibly it’s origin?
Thank you for your blog. Any insight is very much appreciated.
!cid_1_2171128228@web181405_mail_ne1_yahoo !cid_2_2171128228@web181405_mail_ne1_yahoo !cid_3_2171128228@web181405_mail_ne1_yahoo 2014bettyfunk_braceletHI Betty,
Your very handsome bracelet seems to be a nickel silver bracelet from the Fred Harvey era, probably from Bell Trading Company
It is possible that is the remnant of one of theirs or Sun Bells hallmarks and is just worn from years of play !
It is of the typical design and style and with stamps of that era.
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.htmIf you are selling your jewelry, read this
http://www.horsekeeping.com/jewelry/pawn-buying.htmVisit our pawn shop for your research and shopping
BST478-bell-arrowhead-nickel-turq-1 BST478-bell-arrowhead-nickel-turq-2

Are these items from my grandmother real?

Hi Paula,
I found your email from a blog and was wondering if you could take a look at a couple of pieces of jewelry that I inherited from my late grandmother. I know nothing about these pieces or even if they are real. Any help is greatly appreciated. There is a necklace, ring and bracelet.
Thank you so much,
2013-07-05 16.14.28 2013-07-05 16.14.42 2013-07-05 16.20.19 2013-07-05 16.33.00Hi Jennifer,
Yes of course they are real !! I see them and you can touch them !! All joking aside…….
Whether or not these items are Native American made or not, they are treasures since they came from your grandmother !
I’d say the necklace is Native American style but not Native American made.
The bracelet could very well be Native American made – it looks like something from the Fred Harvey era, perhaps from Bell Trading Company. You can read about that in these articles and perhaps look for some hallmarks.
As far as the ring, it is a chip inlay ring that may or may not be Native American made.  We have a similar ring in our pawn shop that tests positive for sterling silver but has no hallmarks. It came in an estate lot so we don’t know the origin of it but if you click on this photo it will take you to the page where you can read more about it and chip inlay.
Enjoy your treasures !  And be sure to read the comments left by others about this post. Valuable information !

What Bell markings are on this copper bracelet?

Hi Paula

I have a question about this bracelet:
CSB60-612-sunburst-1 CSB60-612-sunburst-2
The description says that it is made by Bell, and I was wondering if there are any of the Bell markings on the bracelet since I can’t see the completely backside of it.
Hi Amy,
It has the Zia sun symbol with a bell
which is one of Bell’s hallmarks after 1972.
You can see that hallmark on this post Bell Trading Company History and Hallmarks.

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.


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:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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 !


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.



%d bloggers like this: