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A modernist-style Navajo silver and desert ironwood pillbox

or a small trinket box by George Kee for The White Hogan Shop, Scottsdale, AZ, circa 1950’s

This fantastic little box was made by one of the 20th century’s finest Navajo silversmiths, George Kee (1930-1980), who worked alongside his famous Uncle, the brilliant Navajo silversmith Kenneth Begay (1910-1977) at Scottsdale’s White Hogan Shop for years. Begay and George Kee along with Kee’s two brothers, Allan and Ivan, did work that was strongly modernist, elegant and international in design and appearance while remaining completely traditional Navajo in the methods of silverwork used.

Using tried and true old-style methods of Navajo silversmithing to create daring modern silver masterpieces was the White Hogan Shop’s unique design signature. And so it is with this fine piece. a large diamond-shaped panel of dark brown desert ironwood is starkly set against a plain silver background and accentuated with minimal stamped geometric designs based on Navajo textile motifs. The box is masterfully crafted and has a marvelous feel in the hand.

The box measures 2” in width, 1 1/2” in height and is 5/8” inches in depth. It weighs a substantial 48 grams or 1 3/4 ounces. It is in generally excellent original condition with some age appropriate wear--a few scratches and dings--to the silver and the ironwood inlay panel. There are also two small holes in the ironwood inlay where two small silver rivets might have once been placed. These could be fairly easily replaced if desired by a competent jeweler although it is hardly necessary. The box clasp works perfectly. The silver has acquired a particularly beautiful soft patina over time. The box is properly signed with George Kee’s initials, “GK” and is also marked with the White Hogan Shop insignia and stamped “Sterling” and “handmade”.

Price $750

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