An Incredible masterpiece of metalsmithing by the brilliant contemporary Navajo jeweler, Mckee Platero. Platero, who makes only a very small amount of jewelry annually, is somewhat of a Southwestern cult favorite. Every piece he makes is snapped up immediately by an enthusiastic cadre of international collectors and dealers. He does not participate in public exhibitions and is not represented by galleries.

Platero’s extraordinary jewelry combines outstanding technical mastery, a deep sense of Navajo tradition and a highly personal and modern aesthetic vision. They are always and immediately identifiable as Mckee Platero pieces. This technical mastery, tradition and personal vision are exactly what characterize this outstanding necklace. First, is its unprecedented degree of technical difficulty. Working in brass is many times more difficult than working in silver. We don’t know of another southwestern jeweler who would even consider attempting to create such a large-scale, completely handmade piece in brass today.

It takes amazing strength and patience just to work the materials.

The use of brass is a strong nod to Navajo tradition and history in that brass and copper predate the use of silver in Navajo jewelry. Brass and copper pieces were first made in the 1870’s and 1880’s from found materials such as pots and pans, shell casings and telegraph wire before Navajo smiths could commonly afford or obtain silver.

Last but hardly least, is the artistic excellence evident in this piece-the gorgeous, profuse stamp and chisel work and rich detail in each of the 52 handwrought beads, every one of the eight crosses and the large cross pendant. The necklace measures 15 1/2” from the top of the wrap to the bottom of the central pendant, measured while lying flat. Bead diameter is 1/2”. The small cross pendants are 2 1/2” long and 1 1/2” wide, the large cross pendant is 3 1/2” long and 2” wide.  The necklace is signed “MP” and stamped with the artist’s insignia of three dots on the back of the large pendant. This is an unbelievable masterpiece, the likes of which will not be seen again.


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A rare and remarkable Navajo brass dragonfly cross necklace by McKee Platero, circa 1990’s

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