Signed Navajo Blue Turquoise Red Coral Sterling Silver Elder Chief Pendant
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Signed Navajo Blue Turquoise Red Coral Sterling Silver Elder Chief Pendant:
This is a stunning work of handmade Navajo art, a piece that features (in my opinion) some of the most exemplary displays of blue turquoise, sterling silver, and red coral. In discussing this piece, perhaps the most fitting place to start is with the pendant's material composition itself. This is a very substantial blue turquoise work - nowadays, it is commonplace to see blue turquoise done on a much smaller scale. The heavy works of blue turquoise are increasingly a thing of the past. This pendant weighs in at 26 GRAMS, while some of that weight comes from the sterling silver implements on the piece - the majority of that weight is in the stone composition. While the sheer magnitude of the stone within the pendant is something in and of itself, it is the quality of the blue turquoise stone (and the masterful way it is manipulated) that makes this piece one of the finest Navajo stone/silver handmade pendants I have come across in my 30 years as a Native American cultural arts and jewelry collector. The blue turquoise appears to almost change hues when exposed to warm, and cool light sources. The photos above depict the pendant under soft light, with camera flash off, as well as camera flash on. When exposed to bright light (especially bright natural light) this pendant appears a cool, icy blue. However, the blue turquoise is not "monotone" in color. Take note of the variation in the blue turquoise's surface. Again... this is an incredible stone. This is a piece that has been close to my heart for many years, but I do not believe I am being biased when I say that it is (arguably) one of the finest inlaid turquoise stones you can find. Had this pendant features a stone that was one hue, one flat complexion - it would not have this otherworldly natural aesthetic. Awesome.. no other way to put it!
As for the design of the piece - well, I believe that words will do little here in terms of summarizing all that this piece is. I highly encourage you to really look closely at the photos, as the detail within this pendant is mesmerizing. From one stone, the Navajo artist has managed to craft a highly detailed Native American chief, with identifiable (and highly distinguishable) appendages. The chief is bold, regal. His long hair carved from the turquoise stone thick and heavy. He wear a headband of sorts, under which his hair is tucked - crafted from solid sterling silver - and bezeled and raised in appearance. The chief's ears are, too, sterling silver. Here they appear almost as "fiddle ferns," beautifully and artistically composed.. identifiable as ears, but totally unique in style. The chief's nose is arguably what draws the eye the most. The nose is WONDERFULLY shaped. Like that of a real nose, the chief's nose is not level or flat, but boats areas where the structure of the nose rises, and other areas where it dips. This is something that is best understood when one runs a fingertip along the surface of the chief's nose. You can feel the variation in surface.. you begin to understand just how hard it is (and what skilled hands it takes) to achieve this effect on a natural stone - turquoise at that. The chief's nostrils are flared, the bottom of the nose large and domineering. The top of the nose gradually narrows, and runs right in between the chief's eyes. Ah, yes... the chief's eyes. What a BRILLIANT choice in design to feature red coral to capture the chief's fiery gaze. The red coral used is incredibly vibrant - however, it is the juxtaposition of the blue turquoise and red coral which creates perfect contrast within this pendant. The top of the nose that I mentioned earlier runs between the eyes actually turns into the chief's eyebrows - which are furrowed and intense looking. The furrowed eyebrows, along with the deep red coral eyes of the chief, give him a fearsome appearance. However, the chief's mouth balances out the intensity of his eyes. The mouth is upturned, almost a slight smile. Soft, warm, friendly.
I cannot help but think this was intentional. This is not an "angry" man, but rather a well balanced one. Yes, this man - this chief so beautifully depicted, can be something to be reckoned with. However, he can also be kind, warm, friendly. This chief wears a bold necklace of beautifully composed, perfectly rounded sterling silver beads. I love this little addition. A piece of jewelry (beautiful) featured within a piece of jewelry.
The border on this pendant is composed of sterling silver - and is "roped" in appearance. The roped sterling border is the perfect way to bring this pendant's theme to a close.
This pendant is mounted on a solid sterling silver plaque. The mount is seamless - there is no "give" to the stone. It is fixed very solidly in place. The back bottom of the pendant features the Hallmark of the Navajo artist "OZ." There is a bold, heavy silver loop at the top of this pendant. It is especially large, something that I find to be very convenient for thicker styled chains.
One of the most enticing elements about this piece, is its THICKNESS. The pendant is 3 Dimensional in nature, and a little over a 1/2 Inch THICK. Truly a serious chunk of blue turquoise stone.The pendant measures 1.75 inches in height by 1.50 inches in width (across).
Overall, this is a stunning, one of a kind Navajo blue turquoise, red coral, and sterling silver pendant that you WILL not find elsewhere. I purchased this pendant at a Native American Arts and Jewelry Expo in Santa Fe, New Mexico before I met my wife. My oldest son is now 26 years old!
~If you have any further questions, or would like to see any additional photos, please do not hesitate to reach out in the form of an email. I will get back to you promptly.