Jewelry made by native peoples of the Southwestern US is a particular passion of mine. I have a collection of more than 25 rings in sterling silver and turquoise representative of many different styles created by various artists from several different nations working with gems from mines in the Southwest. I prefer vintage jewelry and prize pieces that have been marked by the artist.
Imagine my surprise when I spotted this in a case at the local second-hand shop. The bracelet was mixed in with a tray of cheap costume and junk jewelry. The workmanship of the piece stood out. These photos were taken under a lamp with a yellowish cast to the light. The stones are more white.
I believe this is howlite, though it could possibly be what is known as white turquoise. I am thinking howlite because the matrix is mostly a dark gray where white turquoise has a black matrix. These stone are unusual because the matrix has veins of what appears to be pyrite, and perhaps even some copper. The clasp is marked 925–sterling silver and I am fairly sure the whole piece is sterling.
This bracelet has strong characteristics of native artist work. The links are hand soldered, the smooth bezel edges are somewhat irregular. This piece is handmade with care.I can find no maker’s mark, unfortunately.
I paid $13 for the bracelet and would expect it to retail for $50-$75. However this is an early Christmas present for me. It will need to go to my local silversmith for a few extra links so it will fit. Merry Christmas to me!