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A beautiful Modernist-style Navajo tufa-cast

silver and turquoise bracelet, circa 1950’s

This bracelet is a real streamlined beauty reminiscent of the great Modernist architect, Mies van der Rohe’s famous dictum that “Less is More.” It has the purity and beauty of essential structure.

The craftsmanship displayed here is absolutely superb. Tufa-casting is one of the most difficult and demanding of all classic Navajo silversmithing techniques to master, the melted silver must be at the exact right temperature to pour smoothly and quickly, the mold must be carved and ventilated exactly right and even then there are a myriad of things that can go wrong, but in this instance everything went exactly right and the result is precisely what you look for in a fine tufa cast; delicacy and “lightness” with strength. The silverwork is perfectly accentuated with the single rectangular-shaped stone, an especially beautiful piece of clear, vivid, sky-blue Sleeping Beauty mine turquoise from Southern Arizona set in an old-style “foldover” type silver bezel.

The bracelet measures just slightly over 1 1/2” in width at its widest point and tapers to 1/2” in width at the terminals. The inner circumference end-to-end is 5 1/2” and the gap between the terminals is a hair under 1” for a total interior circumference of just under 6 1/2”. The bracelet weighs a very comfortable 48 grams or 1 3/4 ounces and it is in excellent original condition although it is slightly out of round which could be easily corrected by a professional jeweler, if desired.

The bracelet is unmarked for its maker, but whoever the silversmith was, he was an extremely accomplished artist who made this piece something to own and wear with pride.

Price $1,150

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