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SANTA FE  NEW MEXICO

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A very fine historic Navajo tufa-cast, ingot-silver

and Persian turquoise cuff bracelet, c.1940



This bracelet is a real classic beauty, with terrific silver work and three dynamite, high-domed Persian turquoise stones. Traditional silver tufa-casting is a real bear, it’s a painstaking and difficult process and only very skilled silversmiths can do it well. This one could; the cast is beautifully designed; finely proportioned and well balanced, exhibiting the ideal relationship of strength and delicacy. Then, to top it all off are the gorgeous stones; three old-style, high-domed pieces of old stock Persian.

In the early part of the 20th Century when Navajo jewelry with set stones started becoming more popular, enterprising American Indian traders, such as J. L. Hubbell in Arizona, faced with a shortage of American turquoise since so few mines were producing at that time, turned to Europe and began importing Persian turquoise and also glass beads made to imitate turquoise. Persian turquoise became quite popular in Navajo and other jewelry from around 1910 to 1925. While we do not think this bracelet is quite that old, the turquoise stones in it could very well be older stock that a trader or a Navajo silversmith had been saving for the right use or had salvaged from an older piece. In any case, the stones are simply splendid with a deep, penetrating blue color and rich brownish matrix. The high-domed shaped stones are very skillfully set in high-walled old-style “fold-over” type silver bezels.

The bracelet measures  1 1/2” in width at its widest point and it tapers down to 1/2” at the end terminals.

The bracelet is on the smaller side. The inner circumference end-to-end is 5” and the gap between the terminals is 1” for a total interior circumference of 6”. The bracelet weighs a fairly substantial 75 grams or 2 5/8 ounces, but it wears very comfortably on the wrist. The bracelet is in excellent original condition with some minor age-appropriate wear.


This is an excellent example of a classic, old-style, historic Navajo bracelet made with a very well-executed display of an extremely difficult Navajo silversmithing technique set with terrific turquoise stones. It’s a real winner all the way around.



Price $1,250


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