We at TMT get a lot of questions about the things we buy and sell, which is great. We are always happy to answer any question that might come our way about Native American art and jewelry, because it is what we love. An educated and knowledgeable public is our best audience, and ignorance is the enemy of enjoyment when it comes to our inventory. So, go ahead and ask away, and if we don't know the answer we have a lot of resources to use in a search for the truth. But there are some questions that come up over and over again, and it might be a good idea to put some answers in writing. Here we go:
In our covid-influenced world, this is not an unreasonable question. The facts are that the present world situation has affected our business, just like it has pretty much every business. The lack of shows has been difficult for everyone, and we all eagerly await a time when we can all be together safely. But there has not been a noticeable drop in the demand for quality material at proper prices. So, basically, the answer is, "not bad."
WHEN IS YOUR NEXT SHOW?
We will probably be doing a trunk show at Faust Gallery in Santa Fe in December. After that, we will have to wait and see about the High Noon show in Mesa, Arizona in January. Keep checking our Shows section for the latest information.
ON TO THE MATERIAL--WHAT IS HOT RIGHT NOW?
The same thing that is always hot--quality. Pieces with established provenance are in extremely high demand, and "no excuses" pieces will always command a premium. Jewelry that features stones from the top mines, especially Lone Mountain and Bisbee, is also on the list. Honestly, what is "hot" does not often change. Occasionally, there is a bump on one particular area due to a new publication or museum show, but as a general rule, quality rules.
HOW DO YOU TELL IF TURQUOISE HAS BEEN STABILIZED?
This is a really tough one, because some treatments are very sophisticated and will even pass the "hot pin" test. Here is a site with different types of turquoise treatments (we do not know these people and do not endorse any of their products, but this page is a good synopsis): https://toqos.com/blogs/turquoise-blog/turquoise-treatment-methods
Note that they said that poorly treated turquoise has a white, waxy look, but well-treated turquoise does not. One thing you can do is purchase pieces that were made before the 1950s, when stabilization became more widespread. Anything from the 1970s is immediately suspect, though of course, there are notable exceptions. Keep in mind that only 10-12% of turquoise is hard and stable enough to be used without some kind of stabilization. So, in short, the best thing to do is always consult an expert, and if you purchase turquoise, make sure that you get in writing exactly what kind of turquoise you are purchasing (natural, dyed, stabilized, etc.)
WHO IS THE NEXT LOLOMA?
Nobody, because the market is so much different now than it was when Loloma arrived on the scene. He entered a market that regarded Indian jewelry as a curio, and was one of the main figures who transformed it into a true art market. His influence can never be replicated in that regard. In terms of pure artistry, there are many current jewelers who can match his skill (truth be told, he was not the most skilled silversmith or goldsmith of his time), but nobody before or since can match his creativity and originality.
In terms of who will eventually be as collectible as Loloma, you can ask ten different dealers and get ten different answers. A good place to start is to ask who is as collectible as Loloma right now, whether or not they are still producing. There, it depends on what price point you choose. At the highest levels, the only artists still producing who would be in the mix are the Yazzie brothers and Jesse Monongye. Then, at slightly lower price points, there are people like the Supplee brothers and Sonwai. This is not an exhaustive list, but those are a few names to consider.
HOW DO YOU MEASURE THE SIZE OF A BRACELET?
First, you need a flexible tape measure. A steel one will do nicely, especially if it has a catch on one end. Then, take the tape and measure the inside of the bracelet from end to end. This is sometimes easier said than done, especially if the back of the bracelet is not flat. If you must, you can measure along the edge to get an accurate number. Then, measure the opening. For reference, a bracelet for a medium woman's wrist is usually 5 1/4" to 5 1/2" with an opening between 3/4" and 1". One for a medium man's wrist is usually 5 1/2" to 5 3/4" with a 7/8" to 1 1/4" opening. Any opening larger than 1 1/2" is usually a problem, because the opening will be too large to keep the bracelet on the wrist when it is spun around.
That's a start. If you read this and have other questions you would like answered, please let us know. We would love to hear from you!