Pendant loop too small for leather choker – what do I do?

Hi Paula,

Perhaps you can help out a fetish newbie. A few weeks back I bought from your website a black bear pendant and a leather necklace to put it on.

NP354-ABC-blackbear-pino-A

leather-chokers-braided-1

leather-chokers-braided-5

I’ve found the loop on the bear is too small to fit over the clasp on the necklace. I don’t want to return either one, but any suggestions? Should I take it to a jeweler? Try to flatten the loop to make it a little bigger? I sure don’t want to damage it. Or perhaps buy a different chain? How would I know that one would fit? I plan to eventually make a necklace of several fetishes that have special meaning for me, and I guess I need some help before I start.

I would appreciate any directions or suggestions you could give me.

Thanking you in advance,
Linda

Hi Linda,

First of all, any time your purchase something from us, feel free to ask ahead of time if a certain bead necklace, for example, will go through the bail of a pendant you are looking at. We can always check that out for you. For most pendants and necklaces we list the size of the bail on the pendant and the diameter (or thickness) of the necklace so you can get a pretty good idea.

The pendant you purchased was shown with a sterling silver round omega which would work very well with it as would most chains.

omega round thin

Also we have some very small, 5mm, antiqued beads that could work.

BD792-18-4mm-smooth-antiqued-arviso-2

And yes, you could take your bear pendant to a jeweler who could gently heat and open up or otherwise reshape the heavy wire loop.

Paula

What mine is this turquoise from and what is the value of this squash blossom necklace?

Hello Paula,

All of the black matrix you see contains pyrite; some dark spots in the photo are exclusively pyrite. Most are mixed with the black matrix, however. Notice the quarter for size comparison. All the stones rise at least 1/8″ above their settings, and some rise as high as 1/4″ or higher. Amazing, right? 🙂 The earrings appear to have hand engraved rising suns on them (the suns are not identical, causing me to think they were hand carved, however they may have been distorted during the shaping of the petals?). I love this necklace so much, as both my folks have passed. Knowing they wanted me to have it makes me feel very blessed.

I sent you the photo in natural undirected sunlight, but I also took a couple pics in direct sunlight around 8:00 this morning, before the skies became overcast (we’re expecting freezing rain here in northwest Ohio this evening. great). If you want me to send a photo of the piece in direct sunlight, I can. The pyrite shows up better in the sun.

Much to my delight, I rediscovered the Fred Harvey bracelet my parents gave me as a child, and set it next to the necklace for you to look at as well. I had a copper one also, but I hated it, and either traded it for a plastic animal with one of my childhood friends or threw it out altogether. Regrets!!!

If you venture a guess on the value of these pieces as you try to determine the mine this turquoise is from, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Sincerely,

Sydney

squash stone ID

Good morning Sydney,

Beautiful sentimental treasure.

Without seeing it in person, I can’t say for sure, but I’d narrow it down to Blue Diamond, Kingman or Morenci.

We don’t appraise or give value from photos.

Enjoy ! That’s the main thing. Turquoise has a great power and feel to it.

I’m going to post the photo of your necklace on my blog so if anyone else has other ideas on the stones, they can chime in.

Paula

Dear Paula,

Thank you so much for your input, I appreciate it very much. Per your knowledge of turquoise and my further research, I am pretty sure the stones in my squash blossom necklace are from the Blue Diamond hat mine. I’m pretty happy about that. I knew it started production in the 1950’s and stopped in the 80’s. The mine is now buried under thousands of tons of rock, making Blue Diamond turquoise highly collectible today.

In the descriptions I’ve read, Blue Diamond is known for the triangular-shaped black chert, which is readily seen in the stones of my necklace. This is why I believe my stones are Blue Diamond. Plus, the pyrite is not silver colored as in the Kingman turquoise. Morenci turquoise doesn’t exhibit the black chert so recognizable in Blue Diamond. So, by process of elimination, I have concluded my squash blossom stones are Blue Diamond turquoise.

It will be interesting to read the input from your blog after you post the photo of the necklace. 🙂 I’m no expert, but as in all things, when I become interested in something, I become a super sleuth until my desire for knowledge has been satiated. I too welcome your readers’ input.

Thank you for indulging me with this sleuthing, it’s been much fun, and of course I love the products on Horsekeeping,com.

Blessings,

Sydney

Is the Turquoise in the Heishi Necklaces Real?

Hi Paula,

I received my package today. Thank you for such a careful and professional packing, fast delivery and beautiful necklace. I do have a question. Is the tourquoise stablized and dyed or stablized but real? Is it chalk tourquoise? I am sure I will wear it to death because it is what I wanted and the price is excellent. I am just curious. Please let me know. Thanks. Shelly

Image

Hi Shelly.

Most of your questions are answered here in an article where I try to describe all the forms of turquoise – All About Turquoise.

Most heishi turquoise is stabilized because if it wasn’t, it would be brittle and could crack. Also, when natural turquoise comes in contact with skin oils of the neck area, it would become discolored. So stabilization helps prevent that too. Some turquoise heishi is enhanced which further strengthens it and could make its color more vivid. You’ll read about these terms in that article.

When you say chalk turquoise, are you referring to “block turquoise”?  Block turquoise is a manufactured composite product, with little if any real turquoise in it. No, the turquoise heishi necklaces are not block turquoise. Most are stabilized real turquoise, some are also enhanced.

Image

Paula – What is my Squash Blossom Necklace Worth?

Every week I receive over a dozen queries such as this:

Hi Paula,
I have a necklace that belongs to my sister. Her husband died, and she is trying to liquidate some of her assets. Where can I find out how much it is worth, and where can I sell it for her? We have been to the local jewelers, and he said it was silver. It has several turquoise stones. I think it is called a squash necklace. Thank you for your help, June

Usually I reply suggesting the person read this article which provides much valuable information about selling used Native American jewelry to us.

Do we Buy Native American Jewelry?

It outlines the process we use and it also lists the various factors that affect price.

  • Authenticity

  • Documentation

  • Hallmarks

  • The artist’s reputation

  • The scarcity of the artist’s work

  • The age of the piece

  • The quality of workmanship

  • The condition (see specifics below)

  • The weight of sterling silver and gold used

  • The quality and size of the stones used

  • The overall aesthetics of the piece.

In addition, the scale of the piece will also affect price. Many people today shop for items of wearable art so look for pieces that aren’t too large, long or heavy. Many squash blossom necklaces are beautiful but are too much necklace for many people to wear. The same goes for some of the masterpiece bracelets – beautiful to look at but impractical to wear.

Size also is a big factor – we have a good idea of what sizes of bracelets and rings sell the best for us and also the length of necklaces that are most popular. We take all of these things into consideration.

It is not uncommon for someone to write us hoping an item will bring $1500 when in fact its current value is about $300. Really the best way to find value is to send or take the item to a person experienced and knowledgeable about Native American jewelry.  (If you take your items to a pawn shop, if the items are sterling silver, you will likely be offered scrap or melt value. That will be the subject of a future article.)

If you don’t want to ship the items and you don’t have a local expert, one good way to get an idea of what your item would sell for is to use eBay as a reference tool. The eBay marketplace will give you a rough idea of retail value since most of the shoppers there are individuals like you.  There are very specific ways to drill down to an accurate market value of a piece.

First log on to eBay

In the search box type in a description that you think another seller might use to describe your piece.

Let’s use “turquoise squash blossom necklace”.  Type that in and then click on Search. In my example you’ll see that search turned up 497 items. (By the way, if you are having trouble reading these screen shots of eBay, hit CTRL +++ to enlarge the font on your screen.)

In the left hand column, under categories, click on Ethnic, Regional and Tribal

That reduces the group to 324 items.

In the left hand column, click on Native American

That reduces the group to 301 items.

This shows the items currently for sale that are like your item. You can browse through this list to see what sellers are currently ASKING for their pieces but a MUCH BETTER  way to learn what your item is worth, is the following.

Next to the blue SEARCH button in the upper right of the screen is the word Advanced. Click on that.

It will take you to this screen.

Look for the section that is headed

Search including (at the bottom of the above screen shot)

and click on the box in front of

Completed listings

This will take you to a page (in my example) with 912 items that were listed with the words “turquoise squash blossom necklace” and were in the Native American category and that either sold or went unsold within the last  60 days. If you have your eBay window set to show 100 items per page, you will have 9 long pages to scroll through !!  Get that cup of coffee !

As you browse note this. Toward the right hand side of each listing, if the price is in red that means the item didn’t get a single bid and didn’t sell.

If the item price is green and there is a SOLD box near it, that means the item sold for that price.

When you find an item that looks similar to yours, you can click on the item and it will take you to that item’s individual page where you can find out more information such as age, whether sterling, weight, condition, hallmarks and you can usually see a number of better close-up photos to help you compare the item to the one you are trying to evaluate. Cracked stones, missing pieces and other damage really lower an item’s price.

So if you see a similar item to yours and it sold for $100, that give you a ballpark idea of what the market will bear – what your item is worth out there in the real world of buyers.  What the market is willing to pay.

If you see a similar item to your own that has a price of $800 but the item is UNSOLD, all that tells you is that someone asked $800 for it but didn’t get it. Often when you scroll through listings you will see the same item appear several times  – as each auction expires, the item goes unsold and the seller relists it.  You might see the price lowering over time or the seller might invite offers with the Best Offer feature.

The bottom line is, the best way to find out what your items are worth is to find a person knowledgeable and experienced in Native American jewelry. You can also use eBay to help you get a ball park figure on what an item similar to yours has sold for in the recent past.

Best of luck and soon I will write an article about melt value and another with advice on what listing your item on eBay entails.

 Enjoy that beautiful jewelry !! Paula

 

GM hallmark on Squash Blossom Necklace

Dear Paula,

I recently posted on darasattic an old squash necklace with the artists mark c l v l. You can see it on my post or facebook.

With all the caveats on my blog, is this artist known? What do you think of the piece? I aquired it early ’80s and it was old then. Haven’t polished it but see someone tried since there’s alittle blue silver polish left on back of one of the grooves of the “horshoe” silver backing of the naja.

Any thoughts or help?

Loved this blog and your beautiful samples of choice squashes.
Best,
Dara the Collector

Hi Dara,

When I enlarged the hallmark photo form your blog, I saw “GM” not what you suggested above.

With that said, I don’t recognize the hallmark and although there are several GM hallmarks in my hallmark books, none look quite like this one so I hesitate to suggest them.

Perhaps others have some ideas.

Paula

Navajo Tommy Singer Bamboo Coral and Treasure Necklaces

Hi Paula,

I am interested in some of Tommy Singer’s work which is displayed on your website.

Items NHS828, NH878, NH827, and the multi-strand bamboo coral.

Tommy Singer 3 Strand Gemstone Necklace
Tommy Singer Turquoise Gemstone Necklace
Tommy Singer Purple Spiny Oyster Gemstone Necklace
Tommy Singer 7 Strand Bamboo Coral Gemstone Necklace

I am wondering what percentage of the beads he uses are actually handmade/handformed by him or his family. My wife and I are building a collection, trying to stick to sole-authorship pieces.

Any information you can give me on these pieces, or any others you might have by Tommy and others would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks and best regards,

Charlie

Hi Charlie,

Thanks for your inquiry.

The 12K gold filled barrel beads that are decorated, gold, black silver are made by Tommy Singer. Also the solid sterling silver barrel beads are made by him. They are on most of his necklaces. They are his signature treasure necklace beads.

The purple and orange spiny oyster and turquoise heishi style disc beads are made by him. Also the other gemstone beads that are disc style.

The long narrow bamboo coral – I am not sure but I think not made by him.

The little sterling silver decorative spacers – I think not made by him.

The sterling silver cone ends are not made by him.

So a high percentage of what goes into his necklace is hand made by Tommy Singer or his family.

Doris and James Coriz make all the component of their necklaces, for example

Spirit Necklace made by Doris and James Coriz, Santo Domingo
Olive Shell Fish Necklace by James and Doris Coriz, Santo Domingo
Close up of fish

These artists also make ALL of the heishi right on the “string” so to speak.

10 Strand Heishi Necklace by Janice Tenorio, Santo Domingo
Close up of Tenorio heishi

Enjoy browsing and let me know if I can help further.

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Native American Chiclet (Chicklet) Necklaces

Santo Domingo Chiclet Necklace

In 1899, US gum manufacturers formed a conglomerate, The American Chicle Company.

In 1906 Frank Fleer (does his name ring a bell, bubble gum lovers?) began making a hard-shelled, candy-coated white peppermint gum called Chiclets.

Chicle is the English version of the word tzikiti (“sticky stuff”), the Nahuatl word for the resin that makes chewing gum. Oddly enough though, Chiclets are made from a different gum base!

By 1920, Chiclets were available in bright colors: yellow, green, orange, red, white, and pink. The small shiny rectangles each had a different flavor – mostly fruits; the white was still peppermint.

Chiclets Gum

Native Americans, most specifically Santo Domingo artists, began calling their colorful, multi-stone necklaces “Chiclet Necklaces” and it is easy to see why.

Santo Domingo Chiclet Necklace

Some Santo Domingo artists add small treasures among the chiclets and call the necklaces Treasure Necklaces.

Santo Domingo Treasure Necklace with Fetish Bear

Santo Domingo Treasure Necklace with Pipestone Hummingbird Fetish