Thursday, September 30, 2010

Piece of the Month--the bracelet that Perry loved.

This is our first Piece of the Month, where we take a piece and give our own view on it, including a special price.

Sometimes, a piece comes along that kind of gets lost. Maybe it's because it isn't a huge and dramatic thing, or maybe it doesn't have a hallmark, or maybe it doesn't photograph well. (Keep in mind that Steve still does all the photography, and he is not a pro by any means.) And sometimes, we have no idea why it doesn't get the attention it deserves. Here is one of those times.
This is B 2256, a Navajo bracelet from circa 1915. It is one of the best old Navajo bracelets we own, and has some really interesting technical points to it. In fact, at Indian Market, Perry Shorty spent 45 minutes looking at it, and said that if he had the time, it was the bracelet he wished he had made.
The first point is that the band is incredibly deeply filed--the artist took a solid band and filed three deep grooves into it, leaving two triangular ridges and two smaller ridges on the edges. He then filed in hatching on the side ridges, giving it the appearance of ropework. But the really difficult part was yet to come--he went into the center groove, where he had left a bit more silver than in the two outer grooves, and filed in some faux ropework there as well. It would have been much easier for him to file out all of the silver and create three equal grooves, which is the more common approach, but he did not take the easy way out. Had he cast the band, it would have been far easier for him to create something with ridges without having to go through the laborious process of filing.
In the circled area, you can see the faux ropework inside the center groove. All the decoration has been done with a file--if he had used a stamp on the edges, all the hatching would be the same. Note the small variations in the hatching, as well as in the center faux ropework.

Another area where the artist went the extra yard was in setting the stones. It would have been more typical for him to set five stones, leaving open space at the ends. Instead, he set an extra two stones on the terminals, which is extremely uncommon in early Navajo bracelets.

The circled area in this picture shows the extra stone set on the terminal. Note the early, thick bezels. It is also important to note that the faux ropework does not continue under the stone setting--if it did, that could easily mean that the stone had been set well after the bracelet was originally made.

This is a bracelet that could be worn by a woman with a small to average wrist, and can be sized to fit. It is a piece that rewards careful study, and the more you examine it the more you realize what a great piece it really is. The Piece of the Month price is SOLD.

As always, we love talking about the fine details of our pieces. Please feel free to call or email with any questions or comments.