This museum quality chunk turquoise necklace was purchased from historic Route 66 downtown landmark The Freed Store. Max Freed opened the store in 1920, and it closed in 2000. It was the quintessential Southwestern store, with merchandise from all over the world, antique and contemporary, including Native American jewelry. This piece was purchased in the late 1970s, when it was purchased, already touted as old, and we believe it is circa 1940 to 1970, although it could be earlier. Thirty-eight nuggets of high grade Lone Mountain natural turquoise graduate in size from huge at the bottom to quite small at the top, separated by beautiful natural turquoise spacers in between. The turquoise is incredibly gorgeous, creamy in color with spiderweb matrix. I've seen and sold my fair share of natural turquoise, much of which is injected with resin to be stabilized. This piece, while it may have some degree of stabilization, is stand out for the quality of the nuggets, which show no small pockets of resin whatsoever. From a website about turquoise mines, "Of the famous American Turquoise mines the Lone Mountain Turquoise mine is considered to be in the top ten most famous. It produces some of the world's top spiderweb Turquoise gemstones. The Lone Mountain Turquoise mine, originally called the Blue Jay mine, is located near Tonapah, Nevada. The Lone Mountain Mine was first claimed by Lee Hand in 1920, but is now owned by Gene Wadell, and operated by Chris Lott. Though most of the Turquoise coming out of the Lone Mountain Turquoise mine today is of a clear blue natural or with very little matrix, the mine is actually famous for it's beautiful blue Spiderweb Turquoise. The Lone Mountain Spiderweb Turquoise which made the mine famous is a medium blue to a gray blue with black and mahogany brown fine spiderweb matrix. Lone Mountain Turquoise is noted for its ability to hold color and not fade. The mine has produced some of the highest quality spider web turquoise as well as beautiful lucid deep blue stone."
This piece is strung on twine. The previous owner, from whose estate this comes, said that she was told the strand was like a traveling studio or "suitcase" of turquoise for the Navajo artisan, who would pull from it as needed for other pieces. However, the owner wore it as a necklace, placed over her head. The knot on the twine is secure, although if I were in the shoes of someone buying this, I would have it restrung on silver wire with a secure clasp. Because the piece is unmarked, we cannot say for certain that it is Native American; however, we believe it is Navajo.
The necklaces measures just over 27" in total length. the ends are finished off with fine hand-formed turquoise heishi. The largest turquoise nugget is 1-1/2" long by 1" wide and just under 1/4" thick, and there are three in that range. Then you star to see nuggts in the 1" range, and there are several, and so on until the smallest, which are in the 1"4" range. turquoise chunks from over 1" in length to about 1/2" and about about 1/2" to 1/8" wide. The silver beads have a lovely patina, and as mentioned the cones are bent from age and wear. The necklace overall is 16" long and is strung rather tightly on wire.
One hundred seventy-five grams of high-grade, vanishing turquoise--a coup for the true collector!
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