Estate Jewelry: Vintage Native American, Navajo sterling silver and turquoise cuff bracelet signed by Elsie Yazzie (Mustache) 1921-1991 and dated 1947. The artist is featured in the Smithsonian book "Glittering World Navajo Jewelry of the Yazzie Family" by Lois Sherr Dubin, published in 2014.
Presented here is a Vintage cuff bracelet which was until recently, part of the Native jewelry collection belonging to the Santa Fe New Mexico art museum. I purchased the item at their annual fundraiser auction in 2020. The bracelet is traditional in style but representative of the unique aesthetic demonstrated threw out the career of the distinguished designer and gifted silversmith, Elsie Mustache Yazzie. The artist was active from 1940 to 1990. Her work is found in museums, private collections, and numerous retrospective exhibits in the United States as well as Europe. She is the matriarch of the award-winning Mustache Yazzie family with 9 of her 12 children respected contemporary Native artists.
The bracelet weighs 74 grams. It fits a medium to wide wrist (size 7-8). The piece measures 5 1/2 inches with a 1 1/2 inch opening. It is shallow and wide. There are 16 round 7 mm turquoise gems bezel set around ten 6mm X 9mm teardrop stones with an 8 mm round stone in the center of the design. Additional sterling silver hand twisted 1 1/2 mm wire rope and "hot" drops are used to further enhance the face of the cuff bracelet.
The sides of the bracelet are set with 11 1/2 mm by 10 mm oval turquoise cabochons with five 6mm X 9 mm teardrop-shaped turquoise stones fanning out around the outer edge of the central oval gems. Between the side motif and the central mandella, are handmade sterling silver "peyote button" flowerets. There is damage to one of the turquoise teardrop stones on one side of the bracelet. I have photographed the break in the cabochon and presented the photo along with the rest of the photos for this remarkable piece of hand made jewelry. This is an early piece of jewelry made by Elsie when she was learning her craft from her husband Chee Yazzie. She would go on to make award-winning pieces for another 43 years, still working within the Native Jewelry qualifying guideline of creating without the use of electricity. Each stone is hand shaped and polished and the metalwork is hand-forged.
This beautiful work of art is a must-have for your Native American Art collection!
Vintage Native American, Navajo sterling silver and turquoise cuff bracelet signed by Elsie Mustache Yazzie in 1947