An attractive hair comb by Navajo artist Wilson Begay with sugilite decoration
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 2½ ins h x 3 ins w (6 x 7.5 cms)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1980s
MATERIALS: metal, sugilite
Here is a very beautiful side comb signed by Navajo artist Wilson Begay, whose initials can be seen on the back. Their hallmark stamp is WB under a hat symbol.
The comb shows a nickel silver metal hand wrought heading which is attached by rivets to a commercial mount.
This large hair accessory has big sugilite pettipoint sets with bold purple hues and a pretty matrix. Silver drops and rope style silversmithing border them.
Sugilite, also known as lavulite, royal azel, cybeline, and wesselite, is a relatively rare pink to purple cyclosilicate mineral which was first described in 1944.
Working together with his wife Carol Wilson Begay creates traditional to contemporary sand cast jewelry and also traditional Navajo stamp work jewelry with a variety of gems. Their craftsmanship, design and style are top-quality. The Begays have worked together since the1960s to make cast coin silver items.
The Begay’s typical sand-cast style involves the artist making carvings in Tufa stone to make forms to shape molten silver. They routinely work as a pair, with Wilson concentrating on the casting and building the foundations of the jewelry and Carol setting the stones and doing the finishing work.
The quality of their silversmithing and stone work is evident in every piece they produce. They work in the sand-cast (tufa cast) style which involves carving out the design in a piece of tufa stone, pouring molten silver into the mould and hand finishing every piece once it has cooled. Top quality (and often unusual) stones are a signature of each piece
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