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A beautiful early Navajo ingot coin-silver

split-chisel ring with three hand-cut Cerrillos,

New Mexico turquoise stones, c. 1900-1910

PROOF POSITIVE THAT CLASSIC BEAUTY never goes out of style. This gorgeous Navajo ingot coin-silver and turquoise ring looks as beautiful today as it did when it was made over a century ago. It was the height of fashion in 1910 in the tiny Navajo Reservation towns of Shiprock, Kayenta and Tuba City and it would be likewise so today in the modern-day mega-metropolises of Paris, Tokyo and New York City.

The ring was made in the classic old traditional Navajo fashion from a cast-ingot silver “slug” formed from melted-down American and/or Mexican silver coins. The silversmith first hammered out the rough form of the ring’s shank using a hammer and chiseled out the triple split shank. He topped the shank with a silver bezel platform to which he attached three individual hand-fashioned old style “foldover” type silver bezels in each of which he set a fine hand-cut Cerrillos New Mexico turquoise stone, and in a most attractive and interesting touch he set a matched pair of greenish colored stones at the top and bottom of the ring and a more blueish-colored stone in the center. The stones are accentuated on both sides by a row of three finely-applied silver “raindrops”. 

Cerrillos turquoise has a range of colors going from the deep green to sky blue. Its rich range of color is one of the main reasons why Cerrillos is considered to be one of the world’s most renowned turquoise varieties. The mine, located about 20 miles south of Santa Fe, has a long and storied history, having been worked since ancient times. Cerrillos turquoise was traded widely throughout the prehistoric Southwest and Mexico. Cerrillos turquoise was reportedly used in some of the Aztec Emperor Montezuma’s crown jewels and a considerable amount of it was used to make the elaborate prehistoric jewelry and other adornments which were unearthed in archaeological excavations at Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon in Northwest New Mexico. Cerrillos turquoise stones were also found among the possessions of the famous “Magician” burial; a prehistoric Southwestern trader/shaman whose remarkably well-preserved mummified remains and rich trade goods were discovered essentially intact in a small Pueblo 3-era ruin about 20 miles east of Flagstaff, Arizona in the early 1940’s. In the late 1890’s, the Cerrillos turquoise mine was purchased by a subsidiary of the famed New York City jewelry concern, Tiffany and Company and renamed the Tiffany Cerrillos mine.

The ring measures just slightly larger than a size 10 on a professional graduated ring sizer. The “face” of the ring measures just slightly over 1” from top to bottom and is approximately 3/4” in width. The ring weighs a very comfortable 10 grams or 3/8 ounce and it is in excellent original condition with some age appropriate wear, there

is a very slight matrix-related crack to the center turquoise stone, but it is completely secure in its bezel.

This ring is a good old goodie, over a century old with lots of personality and a great story to tell, still

stylish and classic as all get out and ready to be the life of the party for the next century to come.

Price $750

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