Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Concho Belt
Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Concho Belt handmade by Navajo artist Floyd Arviso. This fabulous concho belt features beautiful sterling silver repousse’ with a sleeping beauty turquoise stone set in the center.
Sleeping Beauty Turquoise
The Sleeping Beauty Mine, located in Globe, Arizona, is no longer an active mine. For many years it produced a wide range of turquoise that is now even more highly prized for it’s solid soft blue color, with little or no matrix. The color of the turquoise ranges from a deep royal blue to a light sky blue. The mine originally was worked for copper and gold but during the last five decades or so it has produced gemstone quality turquoise in quantities to satisfy the commercial market. In general, the miners lease portions of the “dumps” and sort turquoise from there.
There is a small town in south central Italy, near Naples, famous for its cameos. Their needs for huge quantities of this material over the years have always kept the supply down and demand high. The clear blue is reminiscent of old Persian turquoise, and is without doubt the most preferred and prized by Europeans, both for cameos as well as in bead or jewelry form.
There is a sister mine nearby, called the Bluebird, that produces some of the world’s most beautiful azurite. This material is a copper oxide and also contains malachite, crysacolla as well as a mineralized copper or cuprite. This is a rare and undervalued gem stone that has all but disappeared from the marketplace.
Repoussé or repoussage is a metalworking technique in which a malleable metal is ornamented or shaped by hammering from the reverse side to create a design in low relief. It is a form of toreutics.
There are few techniques that offer such diversity of expression while still being relatively economical. Chasing is the opposite of repoussé, and the two are used in conjunction to create a finished piece. It is also known as embossing.
While repoussé is used to work on the reverse of the metal to form a raised design on the front, chasing is used to refine the design on the front of the work by sinking the metal. The term chasing is derived from the noun “chase”, which refers to a groove, furrow, channel, or indentation. The adjectival form is “chased work”.
The techniques of repoussé and chasing use the plasticity of metal, forming shapes by degrees. There is no loss of metal in the process as it is stretched locally and the surface remains continuous. The process is relatively slow but a maximum of form is achieved, with one continuous surface of sheet metal of essentially the same thickness. Direct contact of the tools used is usually visible in the result, a condition not always apparent in other techniques, where all evidence of the working method is eliminated.
Vintage Native American Jewelry
Vintage Native American jewelry typically features traditional styles, a dark silver patina and often, rare types of turquoise from mines which are now depleted. Our vintage jewelry usually ranges from the 1930s to 1970s and the artists are often unknown because prior to the 1960s, artists rarely signed their jewelry. Most of our vintage jewelry is acquired from private collections and we feel honored to pass on these treasured pieces to new owners. We recommend leaving the patina on old jewelry, as polishing can diminish the value. When you collect vintage jewelry, you own a small piece of history.