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A superb historic Navajo Arts and Crafts Guild 

ingot-silver bangle-style bracelet, c.1940’s-50’s

The best of the Navajo Arts and Crafts Guild’s historic silverwork is some of the finest Navajo silver ever made. The Navajo Guild were the elite special forces of Navajo jewelry so to speak, a virtual all-star silversmithing team recruited and led by their brilliant Founder, Ambrose Roanhorse (1900-1982), one of the greatest Navajo silversmiths in history. Under Roanhorse’s inspired leadership the NACG’s silver work emphasized traditional Navajo craftsmanship and techniques; restrained and spare decorative designs, a predominance and reverence for mostly all-silver pieces without the use of too many or any set stones, and, above all, a distinctly Modernist, elegant, streamlined look; emphasizing and understanding the techniques and designs of classic traditional Navajo silverwork while respectfully and appropriately modernizing it. And was it ever a success!

The finest work of the Guild like this marvelous bangle-style bracelet is truly sensational and many of the great silversmiths who anonymously created it (Only the Guild’s distinctive “Horned sun” hallmark was ever allowed to appear on Navajo Guild jewelry.) went on to remarkable and distinguished careers under their own names, outstanding artists such as Kenneth Begay, Allan and George Kee, Jack Adakai and Lewis Lomay. To learn more about the Navajo Arts and Crafts Guild, please click here.

This bracelet is a carinated or triangularly ridged bracelet simply but perfectly decorated with a continuous concentric row of stamped crescent shaped designs almost all the way around the shank, designs which are perfectly and precisely executed. The stamp work design panels are done in a reverse orientation, opposed to each other and in a particularly creative and beautiful artistic touch they switch directions halfway around both sides of the bracelet. The level of skill and concentration required to do this so well is mind-boggling. The design is at once restrained, elegant and timeless emphasizing the beauty, surface and lovely texture of the cast-silver.

“It sure feel good when you wear handmade jewelry.”

-Ambrose Roanhorse, 1936

Ambrose Roanhorse at his bench, c. 1940’s

The Navajo Arts and Crafts Guild is still in operation today. Here is its outlet in Cameron, Arizona 

The shank of the bracelet measures 7/16” in continuous width all the way around. The inner circumference end-to-end is 5 1/2” and the gap between the terminals is 1” for an overall interior circumference of 6 1/2". The bracelet weighs a very nice-feeling and weighty for its fairly narrow width 49 grams or 1 3/4 ounces. The silver has that beautiful, bright white gleaming look of older cast-ingot coin silver and the elegant line of restrained stamped designs down the center sets it all off perfectly.

Condition wise, the bracelet is a time-warp of sorts; it’s in absolutely outstanding original condition overall with almost no evidence of wear and this is especially remarkable when you consider its 70 to 80 years of age. The piece has a very lovely soft patina, the silver just glows. The bracelet is properly signed with the Navajo Guild’s famous hallmark on the interior.

This bangle is a gorgeous true gem of historic Navajo silversmithing. It is an easy to wear anywhere anytime for anyone “go-to” kind of piece that always looks and feels terrific. It will be a lucky person indeed who acquires this fine piece. It is the very epitome of the sentiment expressed on this page by Ambrose Roanhorse about how good it feels to wear handmade jewelry and as it happens, we believe as does an extremely knowledgeable colleague of ours that the anonymous Navajo silversmith who made this wonderful bracelet was actually Roanhorse himself.

Price $1,550

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