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Early silver navajo fertility necklace and earings?

In Fine Jewelry > Native American Jewelry > Show & Tell and Fine Jewelry > Sterling Silver Fine Jewelry > Show & Tell.
Native American Antiques169 of 778Help with Found Unusual Axe HeadTwo BEARS! Someday Three!  from! C eh? N eh? D eh? or Canada!
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Posted 1 year ago


(18 items)

This necklace and earing set was purchased in the early 1940's in New Mexico. We were told that it is Navajo Fertility Necklace, but not 100% sure. Any help indentifying this would be very much appreciated.

Mystery Solved


  1. Stillwater Stillwater, 1 year ago
    Actually that symbol is generally referred to as a "rainbow man" yeii, and the necklace is in the style of a squash blossom. It looks a little later than the 1940's though. How solid is the story for that date?

    You can use Google and find all kinds of mystical explanations about what the rainbow yei is supposed to mean, but keep in mind that almost all of that stuff was invented by the white traders to sell native American arts.
  2. Stillwater Stillwater, 1 year ago
    I found another set, undoubtedly by the same silversmith who made yours. They've got theirs dated a bit later as well. The fact that I was able to turn up an identical piece so quickly would incline me to date it to a later time period when NA jewelry was being mass-produced.
  3. DrFluffy DrFluffy, 1 year ago
    This is an amazing set. Never seen one like it.
  4. lisa1218, 1 year ago
    Dear Stillwater,
    Thank you kindly for your help, and the link that you provided. It has definately been most helpful!. With sincere, and kind regards!
  5. davyd286, 1 year ago
    The necklace on etsy is in the same style and same shape but is not made by the same person, the differences in the decoration (faces, clothing ornaments, and beads) seem significant enough to argue for a different "hand". Can't help on the age, sorry, even though lisa's necklace looks older, a lot depends on the lighting and the photographer's skill, and the other photo may be doing a disservice to the piece, so can't truly compare the two without actually handling them (especially since we can't see the closeup and the back of lisa's)
  6. Stillwater Stillwater, 1 year ago
    If you're sitting around carving a million of these to make up for monstrous demand in the 1960's and 70's, of course they aren't going to be EXACTLY the same down to the smallest detail.

    During the 60's-70's beads were purchased wholesale from traders, who in turn employed lots of different benchworkers, so I don't think that part is a concern.

    If you have a good eye, superimpose the pictures of these two and look along the outline of the casting, you can see that they came from the same mould-set. The little hair on his head is a good place to compare. Exact same mould.

    I think they came from the same bench shop maybe a few months apart. They employed different benchworkers, someone else could have carved the detail, but they're from the same shop.
  7. davyd286, 1 year ago
    Thanks for the info, Stillwater. I saw that the shape looks the same but didn't know if several workshops could have used the same supplier for "blanks" or each used to cast their own pieces.

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