Of all the Native American pieces of jewelry I have had over the years, nothing can touch the historical beauty of this Native American watch band, a Maine estate piece. It is from the Transitional Period of Harvey jewelry, 1900-1930's, but most likely from the 1930's; it shows all the evidence of handmade silversmith work. In addition, it is signed making it an extremely rare piece for its time period. It shows evidence of being coin melted and turned into an ingot to work. The band is wide measuring 1 and 1/4", and it is heavy gauge silver. The repousee work is nothing short of breathtaking using a die in reverse, a traditional thunderbird set with a small turquoise stone and the whirling log or Nohokos, a Navajo cultural symbol meaning good luck. The Nohokos disappeared in the mid-1930's as Nazism and its symbol became well known. When one looks closely at the photos it is easy to see the file marks on the interior edges of the cuff and in the center. The ribbing along the edge of the band is all hand filed, and the stamping on the exterior between the thunderbird and the Nohokos is also deep. Even the thunderbird has feathers on the wings done by hand. The turquoise from the period is inconsequential, as it was not what would have been important for the silversmith and was probably provided to him by the trader on the reservation. The turquoise pieces are well matched in color and size measuring about 9mm by 6mm. The watch itself is original to the cuff and comes with it for the authenticity of the piece, but I doubt that it is in working order. The total weight including the watch is 99.2 grams or 3.5 ounces. The cuff is large, probably intended to be for a man. If I could somehow make it fit me without damaging its authenticity I would keep it, as I have never seen anything to equal it. The gap measures 1 and 1/4" and the interior taped measurement end to end is 7". All I can do is display it and admire it, which perhaps is not a bad thing either. The interior is stamped with number 13. The number 13 was assigned by the United Indian Traders Association to the Shiprock Trading company owned by Will Evans from 1917 to 1956. Items that were produced and bore this stamp were guaranteed to be by Navajo artists and sold through the trading company. Very little work from this period was stamped, so this is indeed a rarity. I would call this watch cuff a museum piece both for its age, craftsmanship and signature. What an amazing piece of history to add to your Native American jewelry collection and wear if it fits you!
Reference: June, Dennis. "Fred Harvey Jewelry: 1900-1955" Schaaf, Gregory. "American Indian Jewelry II"
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