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by Skylar Glandon
August 18, 2019
At the Stagecoach we occasionally have Native American artists or other outfits stop by to see if we are interested in carrying their jewelry. Normally, either because our inventory is full or their pieces aren’t what we are interested in, we decline these offers. We know the artists that we get most of our Native American jewelry from very well and always want to help support them. However, when the Tellers stopped into our store we couldn’t resist picking out some of their amazing pieces of turquoise jewelry. Read on to find out what their jewelry is all about and why we had to have some.
The Teller family specializes in the overlay silversmith technique. This means that there are two different layers of sterling silver in each piece. The first layer provides the base of the jewelry while the second has a cutout design. The layer with the design is soldered on top of the base to provide a backing. Then the background of the design is blackened. This makes for a very contrasting design that stands out nicely. Using the overlay technique allows the artist to create complex designs that are modern and stylish.
While I am on the subject of the silverwork, I have to mention the different shapes of the Teller jewelry. They use some really unusual shapes that I think will appeal to men as well as women. I was really struck by the arrowhead shape of one piece and the almost indescribable shape of our largest pendant. I would call the overall look of this piece as aggressive and native-styled. They used some really neat designs that very striking.
Besides the intricate silverwork, the Tellers also use a variety of turquoise stones. I believe they also use other stones but we only got turquoise jewelry from them. Some of our pieces have straight blue turquoise while others have more matrix. One pendant even has Number 8 Turquoise, which has become fairly difficult to find because it has not been mined in over 40 years. It was really neat to see these artists use a variety of different types of turquoise in their jewelry.
The turquoise pendants weren’t the only thing that we got from the Teller family. They also had some really intricate sterling silver chains, unlike anything we have seen before. These chains are hand-woven silver wire and we were told that they are very difficult to make. The story is that one of the Tellers saw something similar done by another artist. She asked him how it was done and the artist told her that he would not reveal the secret. However, he offered a hint and welcomed her to try to figure it out. Teller spent a long time trying to figure out how these chains were made, the challenge almost becoming an obsession. One night while lying in bed, an idea suddenly dawned on her that she knew must be the answer. Unfortunately, I never get any of these brilliant ideas in the middle of the night that so many creative people seem to have. Though I digress, after many long months of thinking about this problem, Teller had finally cracked the puzzle. I think it’s safe to say that you won’t see another artist hand-make a chain in this way.
In terms of size, these are less like jewelry chains and more like a heavy industrial chain. That being said, they really do look wonderful and can be worn with or without a pendant. I will warn you, they are not cheap. But when you consider the amount of time and work that must go into handmaking these, as well as a large amount of silver, the price is understandable. I think most handmade Native American jewelry takes a certain understanding of what goes into it in order to fully appreciate it. Looking at these chains, it’s not difficult to see that it takes an incredible amount of work to create. The best part is, you will look great wearing it too! While most chains serve only to accent a pendant, these are bold and very attractive. I know you will receive a lot of compliments wearing one of these. You also don’t have to worry about it breaking because they are so strong. Basically, if you want a showy necklace that is artistic, elegant, and incredibly unique, consider one of these beautiful chains.
I think these three adjectives, ‘artistic, elegant, and unique’, are perfect for all of E & M Teller’s jewelry. They are masters of the overlay technique and every piece is very distinct and modern looking. The Tellers don’t make flimsy pieces that are easily broken. This turquoise jewelry is built to last and you will be able to enjoy them for many years. Their unique style is what really attracted our attention and it will undoubtedly draw you lots of compliments.
If you have made it this far, I’m afraid I must give you a quick disclosure about the article that you have just read. I began writing this back in June right after the Tellers stopped by. My plan was to post this on our website within a couple of weeks. Then in early July the flood hit and my schedule went berserk. I thought it important to write and post my last blog discussing the flood while it was still pertinent. At this point, many of these pieces have already sold, including both of the woven chains and several of the pendants. I have had this article close to completion for a while and I thought you would still enjoy reading about it. With the busy summer season coming to an end we have no immediate plans to get more of this Native American jewelry. However, we all loved the Teller’s work so much that I would not rule it out in the future. If you are interested in having a specific piece for yourself please let us know. We should be able to contact them and get something for you.
You can see what pieces we do have right Here.
As always, thank you for reading.
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