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#109: Signs

December 5, 2009

While out West my eyes must have trod over hundreds, maybe thousands of old Harvey bracelets and adornments.  I wrote this post a while back about the history of Mr. Fred Harvey and his influence on the Navajo jewelry and turquoise trade, why his pieces are so abundant and so wearable, and, so, won’t go into it here.  I love these pieces because of the intricate silver work, and the Navajo spirit inlaid in each little carving.

1930’s pin

The Native Americans believe the thunderbird to be the bearer of unlimited happiness.  This pin is interesting because of its raised wings, which give the piece dimension.  Usually a pin will lie flat.

Early Harvey bracelet, 1920’s

Sun rays (emanated out from turquoise stones) symbolize constancy.  The single arrow symbolizes protection, and the running water (markings at bracelet terminals) means constant life.

WARNING!  Insane nab!

I’ve had this cuff a while now but this is it’s first appearance on ISV. I saw a similar one at a trading post in Arizona for some absurd sum of money that wreaked emotional havoc on my mortal wallet.  I pulled it together and walked away.  Back to New York, I nabbed this one on eebz for an equally absurd undervalued price.

From left to right: rattlesnake jaw design (outer rim of bracelet) symbolizes strength.  Mountain ranges (squiggles above/beneath rattler jaws) for abundance.  The line of suns between the rattler terminals symbolizes the passage of time.   Water houses (small, on either side of the thunderbird) symbolize life.

Broken arrows meaning peace.  Warding arrows (arrows facing one another, at cuff terminals) to ward off evil spirits.

Late 20’s or 30’s bracelet

Left to right: tiny crossed arrows for friendship.  Suns (out edges) for the passing of time.  Arrow heads, facing in either direction away from one another, for alertness.  Single arrow for protection.  Bear tracks, a good omen.

Love what you plunder.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 5, 2009 2:31 pm

    These are so beautiful… I’ve been collecting antique native american cuffs for a while now and am so attached to all of mine. Congrats on some amazing scores!

  2. December 6, 2009 7:16 pm

    ALL AMAZING! my mom has a great collection…mine’s lacking…and now after seeing yours I realized how much it really actually stinks! 🙂

  3. December 7, 2009 11:24 am

    Awesome collection, I love that vinatge pawn, great research

  4. December 9, 2009 5:02 pm

    OOooh! lovely photos, I especially love that first one, 1930’s pin!

  5. May 5, 2010 10:28 pm

    Great pics and lovely jewelry. I have a lovely cuff bracelet I found in a thrift/antique store and it’s covered in symbols. Some I recognize in your descriptions and photos but others I’m clueless. Would you be interested in helping me decipher my bracelet? Also, how do you know how old they are and who made them? The only markings mine has on the interior is “Nickel Silver Genuine Turquoise”.

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