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A large Navajo tufa-cast silver crescent moon

or smile-shaped pin by McKee Platero,1999

McKee Platero (b.1957) is just about the hottest thing going in the Native American jewelry world today. After some 35 years as a brilliant silversmith, he has achieved an almost cult-like status, particularly in Japan, where he is revered to the extent that people have tattooed his name and likeness on their bodies.

McKee’s work is not represented by galleries and he no longer shows at Santa Fe’s summer Indian Market. Rather, he only sells the extremely limited number of pieces he makes each year directly to a increasingly eager small group of collectors and dealers around the world. This has poured even more fuel on the already intense demand for his limited output, particularly for his older pieces.

This crescent moon or smile-shaped pin is a meticulously-crafted, outstanding quality piece with a splendid, finely-curved shape and a very nice size and scale. It is carinated along its entire length which catches the light beautifully giving a very pleasing contrast of light and shadow. The pin measures 3” in length and is  approximately 1" in width and weighs 13.5 grams or 1/2 ounce. It is in excellent original condition with a

tiny nick or two and it is properly signed on the back with McKee Platero’s characteristic “three-dot” hallmark which he has said was originally inspired by his sight of the “belt” of three bright stars in a row in the famous constellation of Orion in the night sky as a young boy. The pin is also inscribed with the year “1999” in McKee’s cursive hand on the back. This particular time period of the mid-1990’s through the early 2000’s is perhaps the finest period of McKee’s long career, in our opinions.

No modern Native American jewelry collection is complete without at least one piece from this master jeweler and being able to acquire one of McKee’s superb pieces, especially such an elegant and beautifully modernist piece as this one, at a price like this is definitely an opportunity to smile about.

Price $1,750

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McKee Platero at La Bodega Gallery, Santa Fe, circa 1998