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Turquoise & Tufa

Depression Era Thunderbird Necklace With Turquoise Tabs and Beads

Depression Era Thunderbird Necklace With Turquoise Tabs and Beads

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When yours truly attended her first antique tribal art show, her first purchase was a Depression Era thunderbird necklace made at Santo Domingo Pueblo. It's easy to fall in love with the ingenuity that gave birth to these vintage thunderbird necklaces made during the Great Depression. At that time, fine jewelry materials like coral and turquoise were scarce. Resourceful Kewa artists made do with old car battery casings, toothbrushes, bones and phonograph records. It's the ultimate in eco-friendly upcycling before it was a thing.

The resulting necklaces from Kewa Pueblo were charming and creative pieces of Native American folk art jewelry. Each one is a little bit different, and they're now beloved and collectible - even more so after the Wheelwright Museum held an exhibition on this form of jewelry. 

This particular vintage Santo Domingo thunderbird necklace is highly unusual for its combination of both recycled components and fine, hand cut turquoise tabs along with hand rolled turquoise beads. When you run your fingers along the turquoise beads, you can see and feel the markings from the maker's tools. 

It's a unique style of necklace and is made even more special with the addition of the actual turquoise. The thunderbid pendant and matching tabs are made with the black battery casing, white bone, red toothbrush and natural turquoise inlay. The white beads are bone.

It's truly wonderful!

Necklace hangs 14" plus a 1 7/8 x 1 1/2" pendant. You simply slip it over your head. From a major Native American art collection that was acquired over 50+ years.

Please note that the little thunderbird pendant is missing one of his feathers. (He was a little embarrassed about that and doesn't feel any less of a bird for it, but in the spirit of full disclosure!)



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