Currently All David Rosales Jewelry Requires 8 Weeks To Make
August 11, 2022 2 Comments
Like all things, the popularity of turquoise jewelry sees ebbs and flows, peaks and valleys. There are certain moments, for whatever reason, when turquoise seems to really explode in popularity. For example, the 1970s marked one of these moments. You saw musicians and celebrities wearing large pieces of Native American jewelry on television and in publications. Cher and Jim Morrison of The Doors were two examples. Steve Martin looked iconic with a large squash blossom necklace draped around his neck. These celebrities helped push demand for the stone throughout the country. Aiding this colossal demand, American turquoise was plentiful in the ’70s, providing a low-cost material consumers could afford. It was a booming and exciting time for the turquoise industry. Even today we hear some old miners and jewelry suppliers talk about the heyday of the 1970s. Permanent stores were popping up across the country, as well as popup shops and traveling salespeople. Yes, the 1970s were the glory days for the modern turquoise jewelry industry.
Steve Martin on his 1981 banjo album cover. This picture is said to be a spoof of Jim Morrison.
There have been more recent spikes in the popularity of Native American turquoise jewelry. The early 2000s saw the height of the boho movement, though it remains popular today. Boho is a shortening of the word “bohemian” which Merriam-Webster dictionary defines as, “a person living an unconventional life usually in a colony with others.” The boho movement was partly a hippie resurgence/rehash, with a freewheeling, expressive, carefree lifestyle. Other related terms include gypsy, vagabond, and unconformity. Ultimately, the boho movement found its place in the general population with fashion and decor. Even if the average person did not embrace the full unconformity of the boho culture, the fashion styles became extremely popular. One source aptly described this style as “a look of contrived dishevelment.” Long hair, layered, flowing clothing, and bright colors help to paint a picture of the typical boho style. Another mainstay of the boho style? Vintage turquoise jewelry. Long, layered necklaces and stacker rings are commonly associated with this style. The boho fashion trend was another big jump in the popularity of turquoise jewelry. The development of social media fashions and trends has kept the boho movement, and its desire for turquoise jewelry, alive and well today.
Like the 1970s and early 2000s, turquoise jewelry is having another spike in popularity today. In an age of large merchandise retailers, such as Walmart and Amazon, who primarily source their mass-produced merchandise from overseas, handmade goods are becoming increasingly attractive to consumers. You can see this in the rise of the independent crafting website Etsy, as well as popular trends on social media. This past June, The Wall Street Journal wrote an article called Why Turquoise, Steeped in History, is Having a Moment. This brief article touches on some of the history of turquoise jewelry and the popularity that has accompanied it. For instance, the high-end jewelry company Tiffany and Co. has used the color turquoise for their brand image and packaging since the 1800s and their chief gemologist suspects this began because of the stone’s immense popularity during that time. The article goes on to describe how many jewelry stores, including Tiffany’s, are seeing a resurgent demand for the beautiful blue stone, and are stocking more in their cases.
Tiffany's turquoise jewelry box. Picture from tiffany.com
The Wall Street Journal mentions a small handful of artists, one being Verma Nequatewa, who goes by the name Sonwai. This was pleasant to see in the WSJ article because Sonwai is the niece of the late Charles Loloma, who is surely the most famous contemporary Native American jewelry artist. Charles Loloma was a revolutionary figure in the world of Native American jewelry and is credited with beginning the contemporary movement that is still so popular today. His work often sells for thousands of dollars and is coveted by collectors and museums alike. Likewise, his niece Sonwai makes incredible high-end jewelry and maintains her own spot among the industry’s greats.
Sonwai sugilite bracelet. Picture from _Sonwai Instagram
At the Stagecoach turquoise jewelry has been our most popular staple since we opened our doors in 1973. We have seen the popular trends come and go but this beautiful stone has remained our bedrock for fifty years. Native American turquoise jewelry always holds a special place in our hearts and our own handmade designs continue to grow in significance. We get the opportunity to work with some of the best miners in the country who provide amazing stones for us to create with. We are so grateful to be able to create jewelry with some of the finest American turquoise available today. Such a canvas is any artist’s dream.
You can see our latest turquoise jewelry designs right here!
Next week we are delighted to be attending the Santa Fe Indian Market. Every August this event becomes the greatest gathering of Native American artists in the entire world. These artists, estimated to be more than one thousand, set up on the streets and in stores along the Santa Fe Plaza to display their finest work. So much of the artistry that you see here is mind-blowing. It is not at all uncommon to see jewelry and artwork selling for ten, twenty, even fifty thousand dollars. It is the only opportunity that we have where we can see many of the most revered Native American artists all together in one place. Some of these artists live in other countries, such as Japan, and come to the United States only a few times a year. Some people go to Lollapalooza to see their favorite music artists, while we go to the Indian Market to see our favorite jewelry artists.
The Indian Market is a gathering of not only jewelry artists, but sculptors, painters, weavers, and others. The annual event draws around 115,000 visitors from around the world to a city of 90,000. While the Santa Fe Indian Market is an immense event every year, 2022 marks the 100th addition. It also marks a return to normal after two scaled-down versions during the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s Santa Fe Indian market is set to be one for the ages. We are so excited to be attending this gathering, the world’s greatest collection of Native American artists and a monumental celebration of turquoise jewelry.
The 2022 Santa Fe Indian Market. Picture from swaia.org
August 19, 2022
Skylar-what an informative, interesting article!
March 11, 2023
February 12, 2023 1 Comment
June 16, 2022
January 26, 2023
Where can I sell my collection of native Indian jewelry that was purchased at these shows in the 1970’s. Stunning pieces. Like new. Just purchased for their beaity and to help the artists financially.