HANDMADE JEWELRY | ONE-OF-A-KIND + CUSTOM
Still catching up after our site change, so some of you may have already seen this in the past few days on Instagram.
I had a special request from a special person (thanks, Gwynn!) to find a new hangout for a bear fetish pendant. She had purchased it many years ago, but had never found just the right way to wear it.
I’ve been working with Southwest styles and elements since we moved to Santa Fe recently, so the timing was good. I quickly picked out a high-quality strand of Kingman turquoise direct from the mine to complement the material the Zuni carver, Brian Yatsattie, had used back in 1999. I also acquired some sterling saucer beads of four different sizes and patina, then scavenged four big silver Thai round spiral beads. She wanted the necklace long (29”), so it doesn’t need a clasp, which helps since it is a bit heavy with the stone carving.
One last touch, which I asked permission to change, since it might have been something the artist applied (it wasn’t): I removed the basic silver wire bail already on the fetish and replaced it with something of my own design. I had some sterling strip that was flexible enough to wrap around and fit the form of the bear, but sturdy enough to provide a bail loop. I soldered the loop after fitting it around the bear, which was tricky, but covered the joint with a proper silver wire wrap to add strength and stability at a bendy spot.
While this bear has already gone home to it’s special owner, I can still find more of the Kingman beads if anyone is interested in something similar. I can also help you locate an appropriate Zuni fetish here in Santa Fe, ground zero for Zuni fetish fans (you should see my collection).