Currently All David Rosales Jewelry Requires 6 Weeks To Make
January 24, 2024
Today we are counting down the top ten pieces of jewelry from Stagecoach in 2023. This is a fun list that I like to compile as a look-back on the previous year here at Stagecoach. As always, this is a completely subjective list of the pieces that I personally liked best. Oddly, ranking these pieces was more difficult this year because all of this jewelry seemed more even, with none obviously standing far above or below the others. As opposed to years past, I think almost all of these could have been randomly rearranged into a believable top ten list. In addition, I’m confident that I am leaving worthy jewelry off this list, either due to a lapse in my memory or because I do not have pictures. With all of those caveats out of the way, let’s dive into the top ten jewelry pieces from Stagecoach in 2023!
10. Large Kingman Turquoise Pendant by Gary Glandon
Genuine American turquoise is the most sought-after in the world. Unfortunately, as this material becomes more scarce, the price continues to increase. Miners are required to increase their investments to find more quality stones. This also means that large turquoise stones are increasingly rare and much more expensive. Due to this, we don’t get our hands on as many large stones as we used to.
This large Kingman turquoise stone was an exception this year. It had a deep blue color with dark char scattered throughout. This was the perfect amount of char, giving the stone plenty of character without making it too dark. The size of this stone ensured that whatever setting was used, it would not go unnoticed. We were excited to get our hands on this!
Gary’s silverwork involved great craftsmanship with a nod to vintage turquoise jewelry. He added numerous small silver pieces around the outside as a border. Each of these was imprinted with a design from a jewelry stamp. Together, these small pieces create a full design that encircles the turquoise. Gary also gave this pendant a matte finish, which adds to its vintage appearance.
This Kingman turquoise pendant featured an uncommonly large stone with a lot of unique silverwork. It was quite a piece!
9. New Lander Variscite Scale Ring by Skylar Glandon
This was a two-piece pendant and ring set that I created in April. The basis behind these pieces was this gorgeous New Lander Variscite, which may be my favorite non-turquoise stones in our collection. They have a light lime-green coloring with a black matrix that snakes its way through the stone. The contrast between these two elements is stupendous, with a beautiful bold appearance. It was almost a no-brainer that this New Lander would work well with a dragon scale element.
In jewelry-making, I often find that my ambitions outweigh what is technically feasible to create. With these dragon scale designs, I had to pare back my full idea into something that I could actually make. That being said, these scales required an immense amount of time. After drawing the complete design, I hand-engraved each tiny scale. Unlike drawing, there are no take-backs in engraving. Make a mistake, and it cannot be undone. Such an extensive engraving job required great care. While I don’t remember specifically how much time this process took, I imagine it was a few hours.
I was pleased with the result of this New Lander Dragon scale jewelry. While the pendant was certainly unique and made a great matching piece, I was happiest with the ring. It looked like something that might be seen worn in Game of Thrones, which was exactly the idea.
8. Sonoran Turquoise Man’s Ring by Skylar Glandon
Continuing with large rings, I made this Sonoran Gold Turquoise Ring in August. This is a good example of the difficulties of ranking this jewelry. While the previous New Lander ring was more imaginative and technically challenging, I actually prefer this one. Its simple elements are executed well, creating a striking and elegant man’s turquoise ring. There is nothing extremely innovative here; it is simply a sharp and attractive ring.
The star of this ring is the large Sonoran Gold turquoise stone. This stone is primarily known for its green hues and often has a gold-colored matrix. This one, in particular, has such an intense color that really stands out. As for silverwork, I added a simple border around the stone which adds a slight shine. The band has an oxidized textured background with long silver triangles running down the sides. For a bit of added detailing, I engraved a small border down each side of the band.
I was so happy with this ring once it was finished that I would have liked to keep it had it fit my small fingers. This was one of those pieces that came together just as planned, a classy man’s turquoise ring exactly like I would want to wear.
7. Ithaca Peak Turquoise Gold and Silver Ring by Gary Glandon
Gary created this beautiful Ithaca Peak Turquoise ring in May. Beyond the turquoise, which we’ll talk about shortly, this ring has a textured sterling silver shank with a small 18k gold rectangle on each side. Gary made a few rings similar to this during 2023, any of which could hold a spot on this list. Sorry, Gary, these only net you a single spot.
Ithaca Peak Turquoise is a little-known variation of the Kingman Turquoise mine. Kingman is a large operation that produces a vast range of turquoise colors and qualities. Ithaca Peak is a high-grade variation with a high cost to match. Gary chose these stones for their small size that would work well for dainty rings. Purchasing this quality of Ithaca Peak Turquoise in larger sizes would have become prohibitively expensive. All of Gary’s Ithaca Peak has a lovely tone with a deep shine that is indicative of quality material.
The 18k gold that Gary used in these pieces is a rare treat for us at Stagecoach. We can and do work in gold, though rings with heavy shanks like this get very expensive. In addition, this is 18k gold, which is even more expensive and has a yellower hue. These small pieces that Gary used provide a luxurious contrast to the metals without driving up the cost to unaffordable levels. He even created a few of these with oxidized sterling silver, which makes the gold stand out even more. If this were a list of the most opulent Stagecoach jewelry of 2023, these Ithaca Peak Turquoise rings would stand second to none.
6. David Rosales Stardust Reversible Pendant
David Rosales Designs, our most popular line of jewelry, introduced us to their first major new collection in a couple of years. They call this Stardust because of its brilliant galaxy-like colors. This collection consists of Kingman turquoise, Picasso Opal, Lab-created opal, and black jade together in a stunning kaleidoscope of detail and color. The Stardust collection requires more intensive work than any other that David Rosales offers. In fact, there are so many tiny cuts that David Rosales only has one Native American artist with the skill to do this work. When we first unveiled Stardust in the fall, it was immensely popular among our customers. Number six on this list should actually apply to the entire David Rosales Stardust Collection. However, if I must only choose one piece, this reversible bear pendant would be my pick.
This bear pendant has everything that makes a Stardust jewelry piece amazing: beautiful color and unbelievably tiny detailing. The center is inlaid with raised stones that offer a change in depth not normally found in inlaid Native American jewelry. In addition, the bail is inlaid with these beautiful stones, making this a complete Stardust package. Did I mention that this bear pendant is reversible? The backside is inlaid with regular Kingman turquoise, giving this pendant a completely different look. The amount of work in this reversible bear pendant is outstanding, and we were excited to have such a fantastic piece. Make sure you check out our David Rosales Stardust Collection to see more stunning work. I’m sure we will be adding more Stardust pieces throughout 2024.
5. Tourmaline and Bullet Turquoise Pendant by Gary Glandon
Taking the award for the most unusual piece of jewelry in 2023 would have to be the Tourmaline and Bullet Turquoise Pendant that Gary made early in the year. This began when he discovered some peculiar bullet-shaped Kingman turquoise stones from one of our providers. It was one of those moments where you could see the lightbulb pop on in his brain. It didn’t take long, and Gary set to work creating this remarkable piece of jewelry.
Gary combined this turquoise bullet with Watermelon Tourmaline, a pink and green stone that resembles a slice of watermelon. We don’t use tourmaline in our work often, so Gary had to source some for this project. They are beautiful stones that would look fitting in a fine jewelry store. As it turns out, the colors go well with turquoise too!
This pendant did not provide an overly technical challenge but was unique and elegant in its shapes and colors. The lovely translucent tourmaline glowed in the light, and the turquoise bullets were a cut unlike we had ever seen before. This pendant belongs on this list simply for how different it was. Gary also made a matching set of earrings with smaller stones that were equally unique!
4. Sunburst Golden Hills Pendant by Skylar Glandon
This pendant required a lot of design and planning. I set out to create a design that incorporated sharp geometric shapes, which I enjoy. Triangles, in particular, are a favorite of mine due to their association with the number three and their ability to stack into more complex shapes. This pendant is made up of many triangular forms. The center “sunburst” was engraved deep into the silver, while small triangles pointed inward from the outer border. Additionally, I textured the outside silver area to contrast with the sunburst. The outer edge of the pendant was beveled slightly for extra contrasting detail. Finally, I handmade the bail with matching traits.
This pendant features an unusual type of turquoise called Golden Hills, which comes from Kazakhstan. Over the last few years, it has become a highly popular type of turquoise due to its unique coloring. As you can see here, this stone generally has a milky light-blue coloring along with a rusty red matrix. Because it looks different from any other type, turquoise fans have enjoyed adding it to their collections. Sadly, this was one of the few Golden Hills turquoise pieces that we made or carried in 2023. Hopefully, we will have a stronger offering in 2024.
This was one of my favorite pieces of jewelry in 2023 because of the amount of detail. The geometric shapes make this pendant reminiscent of the Southwest but with a more edgy styling. I really enjoy silverwork like this and hope to make similar pieces in the future.
3. Gary’s Gold and Silver Campitos Turquoise Pendant
Gary made this pendant with just a few weeks left in 2023. It features oxidized sterling silver with 18k gold accents, along the same vein as his earlier Ithica Peak jewelry. Here, he used a beautiful Campitos turquoise stone with a dark matrix running throughout. Campitos comes from Mexico, the same area where Sonoran turquoise is mined. We don’t carry a lot of Campitos, but there is certainly some very pretty material that comes from this mine. There’s just something special about stones with such contrasting colors, as you see here.
Another difference this pendant has from the earlier Ithica Peak pieces is the triangle-shaped gold accents. Gary got a new piece of equipment that he can use to form shapes like these. He takes small gold balls and presses them into this triangular shape. Using this technique gives the jewelry greater dimension than could normally be achieved. Gary created these shapes for several pieces of jewelry, though mostly in sterling silver. This is one of the few jewelry pieces where he has added these shapes in gold.
Gary oxidized the sterling silver around the turquoise, which helps the other elements stand out better. The gold and turquoise both look striking against this darkened silver background. Together, these three elements make for a dramatic, eye-catching pendant. You won’t find turquoise jewelry like this in too many other places.
2. Emerald Rose Variscite Heart Pendant by Gary Glandon
In the fall, we went on a quick purchasing trip for rocks and crystals. During this trip, we met with one of our turquoise suppliers who had a deep green stone that we had never seen before. They called this Emerald Rose Variscite, a new variety from Turkey. We have seen a variety of variscite in the past (such as the Ne Lander variety mentioned above), but never anything with color this intense. This Emerald Rose variscite became an integral part of a very special celebration that we would have at the end of the year.
2023 marked Stagecoach’s 50th year in business. To celebrate, we hosted an anniversary event in early December with lots of special treats. A whole new line of jewelry handmade by Gary and me was central to this anniversary event. In fact, my Sunburst Golden Hills Pendant was part of this release. Most of the release, however, was with this new Emerald Rose Variscite. I made one piece using this variscite, and Gary made several others. All of these pieces were superb, but one was just a touch above the others. Gary took two stones and oriented them in such a way as to look like a heart. He added some nice silverwork around these stones, such as leaves and a flower at the top. This silverwork, along with the interesting heart shape, makes this pendant pretty and highly unique. Hopefully, we will be able to get more of the stunning Emerald Rose Variscite in 2024!
1. Kingman Turquoise Night Sky Pendant by Skylar Glandon
I made this pendant for my mother in early December. She picked out this Kingman turquoise stone and asked me to make something for her as her Christmas gift. With complete freedom to design whatever I wished, and not needing to be highly conscious of cost and time spent, I set out to create a piece unlike anything she had seen before. Numerous drawings were made, and lots of time was spent thinking about how to create such a design.
There were many elements in this pendant. The background was textured using a small percussion tool, which takes time to cover such a large surface area. The stars were made using the same equipment that Gary used to make the gold triangular pieces mentioned above. The most time-consuming part of this pendant was making these tiny stars. Soldering each of these onto the pendant was also a challenge. Towards the bottom, I hand-cut flower stems into the silver using our small jeweler’s saw. The three flowers themselves are made of brass that I hammered for a little extra dimension.
The bail at the top of this turquoise pendant has its own unique design. I soldered silver wire together to create the housing for three large rings. These were also made by hand and give this pendant a fun style. This was one of the most complex and challenging pieces of jewelry that I have ever made. It was a joy to design and figure out how to bring this design to life. I hope to make more jewelry along these lines in the future.
There is the complete list of the top jewelry from Stagecoach in 2023. We hope you have enjoyed reading about our past jewelry and are excited for more in 2024. I’m sure we will have some interesting surprises during the year that you are going to love seeing. What do you think about our jewelry from last year? Comment or stop by and let us know!
October 11, 2023
April 06, 2023
March 11, 2023