Wesley Craig AKA Wes Craig, Navajo Jeweler

Navajo artist Wesley Craig, born 1959 in Gallup, New Mexico, has been actively making jewelry since 1974. Son of Robert Etsitty Craig Jr. and Marie Craig, he was taught his craft by his mother Marie.

His hallmark is usually Wes Craig in script inside a feather but he also has used WC. Often he adds IHMSS – Indian Hand Made Sterling Silver.

Sometimes the Running Bear shop mark (RB inside a bear) is also included which would indicate he made the item at Running Bear Trading Co in Gallup, New Mexico.

His brother, Hyson Craig, is also a notable Navajo jeweler.

Paula

Restringing a Squash Blossom Necklace

When this arrived in a recent estate lot, I went eeek ! and then promptly contacted our favorite repair shop. Although we can make minor repairs and alterations here at our store, we leave something like this to a professional that has experience with Native American jewelry.

A jumble of beads and a broken wire – I wonder if everything is here to make a necklace again??!!

The 14 mm handmade beads are stamped on both side and so are the blossoms – quite rare !

As usual Old Town did their magic – straightening any bent blossom petals, balancing all the beads beautifully, making a new hook and eye closure….resulting in a treasure of a necklace.

The repair shop we use…….
Contact Diane Radeke at
Old Town Trading Co. / Jewels of the West
4009 N. Brown Ave.
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
602-350-4009
info@oldtownjewels.com

See this related article

Shortening a Squash Blossom Necklace for Paula

Paula

Why do Navajo Pearls have hook and eye closures?

Dear Paula,

My concern is about the hook and eye closures on the silver beads (Navajo Pearls).  Are these secure?  I would think that they could fall off easily and do not understand why they do not come with a lobster claw or more secure closure.  Have most customers been satisfied with this kind of closure or do they tend to lose their jewelry? Is there anything that can be done to make this closure more secure?

Thank you.

MM

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Hello MM,

The hook and eye is traditional as the early Navajo artists did not have access to lobster claw clasps or other mechanical style clasps.

N227-squash-turq-27-5I’ve never had a necklace come undone. If you are worried you can squeeze the hook together which will make it more secure but also a little harder to hook.  Once on, I have found hook and eye closures to be quite secure.

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You could purchase a necklace extender with a lobster claw clasp. We offer both kinds but the hook and eye extenders sell 8:1 to the lobster claw clasps. It is a matter of tradition and personal preference.

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Paula

Can you tell me more about this Sterling Silver Bead Necklace?

Dear Paula,

I am interested in possibly purchasing this necklace to wear with a large silver and copper pendant by Roland Begay that I recently received as a gift:  Navajo Sterling Silver, Stamped Bead Necklace – 8mm 18 inch, 42 grams, #BD789-B hand-crafted by Tashina Long.
 
I live on the east coast and have just begun to educate myself about Native American jewelry.
 
Could you kindly tell me more about Tashina Long the silversmith and her work?
 
Thank you for your time and attention,
Mora
BD789-ABC-stamped--8mm-long-2 BD789-ABC-stamped--8mm-long-3
HI Mora,
First of all, it is a beautiful necklace and would make a stunning pendant hanger.
Lily Yazzie Jameson Long is the mother of Tashina Long.  (You’ll also see Lily’s beads in our store).
Lily is the sister of Lee, Raymond, Marie Yazzie James, Lola Yazzie Daw, Shirley Yazzie Johnson, Cindy Yazzie, Mary Yazzie – some of the most celebrated Navajo silversmiths today.  You’ll see beads and jewelry by them in our store.
Tashina is in her twenties and has some children.  The Longs and Yazzies come from a long line of distinguished silversmiths.  Her mother Lily and her sisters taught Tashina to be a silversmith.  She lives north of Gallup as do many in her family.
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.htmIf you are selling your jewelry, read this
http://www.horsekeeping.com/jewelry/pawn-buying.htmVisit our pawn shop for your research and shopping
http://www.horsekeeping.com/jewelry/pawn/pawnshop-vin.htm

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Are you supposed to polish Navajo Pearls?

Hi Paula,

I was looking at the stamped Navajo pearl necklaces and began to wonder – How do you polish these necklaces or are you supposed to polish these necklaces?

Thanks   Pamela

Stamped Navajo Pearls by Larry Pinto

Stamped Navajo Pearls by Larry Pinto

Hi Pamela,
It is a matter of personal preference. If you like patina, no polishing necessary.That’s why we leave the beads in our pawn shop as is – so the buyer can decide.
A lot of people prefer patina………and to satisfy those customers, Navajo bead makers also put an “instant patina” on their beads by adding a satin finish and antiquing on some of their beads such as this gorgeous necklace by Navajo Virginia Tso.
Antiqued Navajo Pearls by Virginia Tso
If you like shiny, you can use a soft silver polishing cloth. Leaving a little patina in the stamped portions just makes the stamping stand out more dramatically. Very pretty.
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You can also keep them in an anti tarnish pouch if you want them to stay shiny.
AT33-38-pouch-brown-black-280wPaula

Paula, What can you tell me about this necklace?

2photo photoHi Paula,

What can you tell me about this necklace. Vicki

Hi Vicki,

The beads appear to be bench made melon and seed beads and the pendant is in the overlay style. It is not Hopi and whether it is Navajo or not is unclear. I don’t recognize the design or symbols on the front. I don’t recognize the hallmark, if that what it is, on the back.

It is Native American style. Whether it is Native American made, I could not say.

Perhaps others have seen something like this.

Paula

Are these items even Native American made?

Hi Paula
I am trying to find out any information about the two necklaces in the attached photo, like which Native American tribe may have made them (if they are indeed genuinely made by a Native American). It seems like you may be quite knowledgable about these things so if you have any ideas I’d love to hear them!
Kind regards
Heidi

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Hi Heidi,

Thank you. I am very interested and immersed in my work so I have gathered some knowledge about Native American jewelry over the years but there is so much more to know.  That’s why I like to post these questions here on this blog to attract comments from others.

The necklace on the right certainly seems like it could be Navajo made. It has the look of a sterling silver necklace, simple but similar in layout to a squash blossom necklace. When I enlarge the photo, the beads seem to be hand made, not bench beads. It is a very nice necklace which I feel pretty certain would have been Navajo made.

The necklace on the left however, although very attractive, does not seem to be Native American made. The first thing that caught my eye was the brass beads which say India to me. The horizontal brass spacers between the brass beads are also not a design element associated with Native American jewelry. It seems the long dark beads and the shorter tube beads are made from horn or bone, again something I’d tend to associate with India or Africa. The rondelle beads which make up the majority of the necklace also could be bone……or perhaps they and the shorter tube beads are some sort of ivory. These things are hard to tell from a single photo.

Of course, many things can be determined definitively when viewing an item in person – using one photo is just guesswork.

It will be interesting to see what other readers think.

Paula