This is a supremely elegant Native American necklace that drapes like silk. You couldn't hope to find more perfectly graduated turquoise beads -- besides which, this jewel has EVERYTHING: accents of both shell and coral, plus wonderful silver beads of the type you seldom see anymore, hollow and ridged at the center.
The turquoise appears to be Blue Gem: the greenish type pooled with blue and loaded with pyrite matrix. The Blue Gem mine hadn't yet closed when this was made, although stones from there are now highly collectible. Most "finished" Blue Gem turquoise today is in private collections and museums, seldom offered for sale. Alternatively, it could be Bisbee, which is also rare (and called the Tiffany of Turquoise).
Of princess length (18 inches), this strand is impressively weighty: about two ounces, aka 60 grams. It finishes with an old fish-hook fastener of silver. I love those for being so easy to wear (compared to nasty spring rings). It appears that none of the silver has ever seen polish, so an extremely rich patina is present. If you want the tarnish off, be sure to polish by hand with a non-abrasive cream, so as not to disturb all this very valuable oxidation. Condition of the necklace is excellent. The irregularities around the edges of a few beads are not signs of damage; they're at points of heavy matrix, which often lies a bit below the adjoining surface.
From a New Mexico collection, the necklace was purchased in 1975 or 1976 by the original owner, in whose family it remained for the last 30-odd years. Its origin couldn't be clearer: The original box of issue is present -- along with a brochure from the Bien Mur Indian Market Center, a fascinating piece of history in that the shop used to be the only public structure on the reservation, but now is part of an enormous hotel, casino and amphitheatre complex just outside Albuquerque. This would have been the market's very first brochure, because the shop opened in spring of 1975. (Its 40th anniversary will be celebrated throughout the month of May, 2015.)
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