AurumEve Journeys Southwest: Mementos

Gallup, New Mexico is the place to stock up on Native American Jewelry, before reaching the bigger cities, where the markups can be somewhat prohibitive. Gallup is a very interesting small town. It is often referred to as the “Native American Capital of the World”; it’s clear to see this with its variety of authentic Native American arts available, with Navajo, Zuni and Hopi towering above the rest in terms of representation.

This two sided bear, immediately called our attention. The design elements are Zuni, however, the craftsman is Navajo, or Dine’. On one side the piece is carved turquoise, and on the opposite side is opal with sterling silver inlay that has a golden hue. The joining silver casing as well as the findings are sterling. This is an absolute treasure piece for turquoise and opal enthusiasts.  Often known as the ‘first helper’ and a symbol of leadership and strength, the Zuni Bear symbolizes the Guardian of the Earth. In many Zuni Bear pieces you will see a heart line moving from left to right, showing that a Zuni warrior’s heart is meant to be strong like a bear.  The desired elements of the bear’s nature carry on to the importance in Native American culture: the unpredictable quality and ferocity of the bear, similar to the honored warrior spirit.

bearbear2Bears have long been an animal regarded with awe and respect among many Native American peoples, admired for their highly skilled yet seemingly opposing traits and strengths. Majestic in size yet quick and stealthy on their feet and their impressive strength, yet gentleness with their young are clear examples. Because of these characteristics, bear symbolism was and is revered and consistently used among tribes. Claws were worn as ornament and to absorb the bears’ spiritual powers and fur worn for warmth. Because of many of these characteristics, the bear is also seen as a brother. This particular claw is very popular and can be seen in any sizes and on all forms of adornment to represent inner strength.claw

I was so happy to see these Navajo green turquoise earrings, signed DW. Green turquoise, a truly eye catching and unique stone, is basically the same as blue varieties of turquoise. The green color is attributed to either iron deficiencies or dehydration.  A huge fan of granulation, I was happy to see this design element on the piece. I also love the veins in the piece.


This piece is actually something that I picked up about four years ago in Takoma Park, MD. Based on my experience in the Southwest this is clearly a Zuni piece. I love the turquoise, gaspeite, opal, jet and coral combination!


I happily stumbled upon these gorgeous necklace among a few of her other treasures from Gabie Warmuth when visiting the warm and lovely Barbara Bowles Gallery.  Gabie skipped over her original dream of being a goldsmith in pursuit of a medical career in her native of Germany and upon emigration to the United States.  Later, she went back to her first love and passion: silversmithing – and she is clearly a true talent! This pendant was created using the PMC (precious metal clay) technique ending up with a higher (almost solid) silver content at .999 pure silver; with a .925 sterling chain. What grabbed my attention was the  is that the influence of her southwest designs are elegantly and humbly nuanced with milagro style etching. The center orange sapphire adds character with an inclusion that we wouldn’t wish away! Looking forward to seeing more of Gabie’s work!

gabie(This beauty could be yours! The Instagram Giveaway runs through 11:59pm tonight! Check it out here!)


All images Courtesy of Raymond Bourraine.

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