Vintage Kirk Smith Heavy Sterling Silver Red Orange Spiny Oyster Row Bracelet, Handmade Navajo


This heavy sterling silver row bracelet features some of the most striking spiny oyster shell I've ever seen, in a rare orange-red color that is incredibly hard to capture in photos. The photos make it look much more like red coral--so first, they come out deeper red than it is in reality, and second, it's hard to see the striations of the spiny oyster without really studying the piece. (In the final photo, you can see the striations more markedly in this bracelet versus a couple with coral.) If I had to describe the color, I would characterize it as similar to that exotic fruit persimmons. The cuff was made by Navajo master silversmith Kirk Smith (1957-2012) circa 1990s and it is a traditional and fairly simple design with nine smooth bezels each punctuated with a silver dot. The sides of the bracelet have deeply incised stamps and the interior is also stamped. From a website where the artist talks about his life: "My grandfather made jewelry and began teaching me. He was very secretive about it. In a canyon away from their hogan he had dug out the earth, and then placed brush and tree limbs over the top. This was his workshop, and you would not see it unless you knew it was there. I stayed with my grandparents until the 1960s. He kept his workshop away from the house. I was around 9 years old. Then I went to live with my mother in Crown Point. Around 1972, I went out on my own. Started making my first pieces and would sell to Gilbert Ortega. The work was all silver, and was sand cast work. However, when silver got high around 1974 I stopped making jewelry and went to work for the mine. I did lots of different stuff, even worked for a refinery around Galveston. Did these different jobs for the rest of the 1970s. My sister was married to Harry Morgan, and he really taught me how to design a piece. Before I never really paid much attention to the style, that changed because of Harry. He also had a big name and was well known. I wanted to be one of those people. My grandfather told me ‘When you leave something here, your name will always be her'. Kirk Smith was tragically killed in Albuquerque in 2012 by a drunk driver. He was the father of 8 children and grandfather of 13 grandchildren." This bracelet is classic "Kirk"--quality craftsmanship, unparalleled artistry, and elegance. His works have become highly collectible. And like other pieces by the artist, this piece will be one passed down through the generations. He is known for making this bracelet with a more traditional orange spiny oyster, but the color in this one is much more vibrant and striking.

The bracelet is a little over 1/2" wide. Taking a tape measure along the inside, measures 5-5/8" with a 1-1/8" gap, for a total of just over 6-3/4". Weighs a substantial 67g. Whoever wears it will need to fit it well, as given how thick the silver is, there is no way to adjust it. In excellent vintage condition overall.

A collectible piece in a color of spiny oyster that doesn't come along often!


Please convo with questions, or call (505) 369-6865. Will return your call as soon as possible.


For More Native American Bracelets and Watches:
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Native American Rings:
Native Necklaces, Pendants, and Pins:
Native Belts and Bolos:
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