Native American Necklace - Any help would be appreciated!

kashie_2July 8, 2012

Hope someone can tell me about this necklace as I canâÂÂt find anything like it on the internet.

Some information:

Sterling Silver - Turquoise ....not sure of other stones....different sizes and shapes.

Hook to tip of heart - 14 inches

Heart 1 5/8" long & 1 3/8" across - BAL Sterling on back

Silver engraved 3/4" long and 1/2" across

2 Fetish Bears - turquoise

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Where did you get it? What makes you think it's native American?
The only possible things I see that relate in any way to native American jewelery is perhaps the bear fetishes.
But....any Indian is free to string together whatever they want....and because they can prove they are a tribe member, it becomes "native American".
It appears to be stuff that someone strung together from a bead shop.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 11:41PM
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The heart stone is amethyst or dyed quartz. It is a lovely piece.

The purplish beads appear to be amethyst.

The turquoise pieces appear to be just that, however, it is too tough for me to tell with pictures alone. Examine the small turquoise beeds carefully. Dyed howlite is often passed off as turquoise. To tell the difference, look up good reference samples of howlite and note the difference in veining. Also, turquoise may have silver and/or copper stringers and pieces of blue-green copper alloys in it.

The translucent red-orange beads seem to be carnelian (chalcedony, same material as agate).

The 2 yellow, cylindrical, spacer beads probably are colored glass.

The little pink moon shaped piece appears to rhodolite.

I don't know what to think about the 2 bears. I'd like to say turquoise but the impurities gives me pause. These should be examined by an expert to be sure.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 12:06AM
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Is the stand knotted between each bead or at least between each major cluster of beads? Kontting between beads is one mark of quality. If a strand of expensive beads (for example pearls) is broken, the knots prevent the remaining beads from dropping off the stand and then getting lost. Knots also fix bead spacings. Necklace makers of costume jewelry don't bother knottting between the beads - its too time comsuming and not worth the effort with cheap beads.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 12:43AM
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Thank you Jemdandy for answering...there doesn't appear to be any knots between the beads. There are silver spacers between each bead (stone). The turquoise does appear to be the real thing not howlite (I checked pictures of the howlight and these stones have silver strands in them).

Someone told me he thought this was made by Apache...and a woman. He thinks it was her life story....probably an engagement necklace.

Thank you for going into detail on the stones. This necklace was purchased at an auction about a year ago. It is a very pretty necklace. Again thank you!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 5:45PM
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There is nothing about that necklace that any way suggests Sioux Indians....and Life story, engagement necklace is just blowing smoke. Not to say that some woman of Soiux heritage couldn't construct a mecklace and call it a life story....but it was not at all part of their tradition.

There is also nothing about that necklace that any way suggests any Native American work.
It's lovely....appears to be real stones....don't know about the sterling part....maybe....maybe not.
But it is NOT Native is a product of a talented jewelry maker....

Do a search on Etsy for bead necklaces....gemstone bead necklaces....turquoise beda necklaces....etc.
And In my experience with beads etc....some of the beads are glass and the cylindrical beads look like amber.

It's a nice necklace....but not Indian.
Linda C

Here is a link that might be useful: Bear fetish beads

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 7:29PM
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Hi Linda :)

I searched your suggestions and still found nothing like this necklace. The bear fetish link isn't like the bear fetish on this necklace. (if you look at the bears, you will see they are nothing like those on that page)

I did find some necklaces with the rondale turquoise beads. The only thing that was close to more of the beads was made by the Navajo Indians.

When I bought this necklace, I also bought a Squash necklace (which I've already sold) plus several other pieces of silver and turquoise.

Thank you for taking the time to reply :)

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 8:27PM
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Check a tandy leather catalog and you will find that all of those beads & findings are readily available for any DIY bead crafter

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 8:47PM
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Hi Lazypup :) I looked at several pictures from the tandy leather catalog...the beads are different. I guess if you can't see the actual necklace (other than the pictures), it's hard to see the difference.

Thanks for your reply :)

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 9:01PM
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It may be made "in the manner of Native American", but to my eye it is a "thoroughly modern Millie". Those beads and fetishes are available, literally, anywhere. I don't bead myself, but have an acquaintance who does, and this is also her opinion. :(

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 9:01PM
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You can wish and want....and dream....but really that necklace is NOT an example of Native American jewelry.
It's very's well made....but it is not Indian.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 11:36PM
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I have done a lot of beading and would undertake to buy anything that is on that necklace, bears included - it's all in where you shop. But that doesn't prove or disprove the race of the person who made it - the issue seems to be whether it is a traditional art form or not, if I understand correctly. I did an image search in Google for "Apache necklace" and found some comparable items though mostly entirely different work, and for "Apache engagement necklace" which didn't help much.

I don't know that it really matters what the story on the necklace is if you like it and are happy to have it. Be warned that the person who told you the "life story necklace" thing may have been having you on; such a thing would seem to me to involve traditional motifs (not a heart) and would probably not involve symmetry or a double strand (and TWO bears??). Also, why would someone just getting engaged already have a life story to tell? That all sounds a bit smoky to me.

Remember too that most Native art is made for sale today, not for traditional use, and like Persian carpets, may be made according to modern/western designs and tastes, not authentic to tribal norms. So I would simply enjoy it for what you bought it as. It probably has a really nice weight to it; I love stone beads.

Karin L

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 1:22AM
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Thank you very much Karin :) Yes it does have a nice weight. I have searched a lot on this necklace. It is beautiful....the pictures don't do it justice.

Thank you so much for taking the time to research it and replying :)

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 3:49PM
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I just had over 100 pieces of Native American jewelry authenticated and appraised... all of mine were real and none of them looked anything like this. I will share the link so that you can compare your necklace to the pieces that I had appraised.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mama Rocks Jewelry

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 9:51PM
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I've got to agree that the necklace is a very good modern fashion piece. (Very good because the stones appear to be real and the design is very attractive.)

The opaque reddish-purple stones are probably sugillate. You've also got some amber (the translucent chips) and what appears to be Tibetan beeswax (the golden cylinders, though they may also be amber).

The 'not traditional Native American' giveaways are dyed the heart center bead (western style, but not NA), the Tibetan beeswax, the pink star and moon, and the silver clasp findings (definitely new). In fact, if I had to guess, I'd guess that the necklace was made in Tibet, as many modern Tibetan pieces are reminiscent of NA pieces. (Take a look on eBay - some lovely pieces.)

Another piece with a similar vibe:;hash=item4ab983b69d

Here is a link that might be useful: Necklace with similar vibe

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 10:56PM
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Forgot to mention the pink -- I think it's a stone called 'Peruvian Opal' --

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 11:02PM
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It's no recognizable tribal style. And the Apache do not make "necklaces with their life story". The ones I know make lovely seed bead things and sell them on Etsy.

It's a nice necklace if you like the "boho ethnic" vibe, but it's more like the ones sold by Lia Sophia and other fashion catalogs than anything I can think of.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 11:36AM
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I'm a jeweler. Ditto about the lavender beads being sugilite. The pink star and moon beads are rhodonite, not rhodolite (which is a variety of garnet) . The middle heart is too hard to see, but it looks dyed, as do several of the other stones. Real amber chips. It looks like a mix of genuine and dyed imitation stones. Some of the turquoise looks real, some doesn't. The nuggey "turquoise" looks like dyed magnesite.

The cylindrical yellowish beads are synthetic amber.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 2:10PM
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I have a lot of vintage native american jewelry, and my hunch says that this is not. Generally, they like the wear big chunky and very tradtional type of jewelry, and they make more scaled down versions of such for non-indian buyers. This could have been made by anyone, and probably was. Back in the 80's this look was very popular. I also don't believe that type of clasp is common on NA jewelry. Not saying this isn't nice, though!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2012 at 8:20PM
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I didn't know hearts are/were a part of Native American jewelry. Totems were usually animals, insects, birds, but nothing you would find in American jewelry making such as hearts. Looks like a new item to me.

Could the post also be someone who is 'hocking their wares?' ;o)

    Bookmark   August 18, 2012 at 12:41AM
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Indians sure did use hearts.....but not flattened stone beads nor amber....nor fasteners like that.

Here is a link that might be useful: Heart Indian piece

    Bookmark   August 18, 2012 at 10:35AM
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Well they sure did Linda~pardon my ignorance. It still looks like a relatively new piece to me, especially with that type of fastener.

Like I said, 'hocking their wares' spelled s-p-a-m. ;o)

    Bookmark   August 18, 2012 at 3:21PM
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"hocking" means the jewelry as collateral for a loan....perhaps you meant hawking? As loudly proclaiming the worth of something for sale.
But I don't think that's the case at all, there has been way too much dialog. I think the OP honestly wants to know about the piece.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2012 at 3:40PM
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...but Linda, I would have sworn on a stack of bibles I was right! Just goes to show that age doesn't always mean wisdom. hahahha

Here is a link that might be useful: I concur..

    Bookmark   August 18, 2012 at 5:57PM
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"I think the OP honestly wants to know about the piece."

Yes Linda that is exactly what I wanted to know. I came here to see if anyone could tell me about this necklace. Several have, and I appreciate the time they took to reply.

I recently took the necklace to someone that deals with jewelry and was told that the stones are real but was puzzled on the purple colored stones/beads. I didn't ask him if he thought they were dyed. It's still a very pretty necklace....again thanks everyone for your input :)

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 9:37PM
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As for the heart, research BAL sterling, BAL being the maker mark/stamp. There are a few pieces out there for sale and it definitely appears to be handcrafted artisan made, even the makers mark appeared to be hand stamped/irregular on a few pieces I found. If BAL made your entire necklace it's hard to say, none of the BAL pieces I found were comparable to this necklace, this looks more to be recently made using a BAL created piece as the focal.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 8:25PM
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