1950s Turquoise Multistone Bird Fetish Necklace for Women, Zuni Native American Jewelry Animal Fetish


This vintage fetish necklace comes from the estate of an Albuquerque, New Mexico woman who throughout the 1950s and 1960s drove every summer with her young children in tow, to Zuni Pueblo, Santo Domingo Pueblo, Navajo Nation, and Acoma among other pueblos, to buy or trade directly with artists. According to her son, now in his mid 60s, at one point his mom could no longer buy directly, the son says due to intervention by the government due to taxes. So his mother would meet the artists on the highway and buy from them on the side of the road. Sometimes she would barter instead, bringing furniture, clothing, appliances--anything useful and in good condition. This piece was her crowning glory. We believe this was by Zuni master David Tsikewa. From a gallery website that carries Tsikewa's works: "David Tsikewa brought a previously unseen delicacy to the art of fetish carving. His pieces have a sweet, gentle quality that distinguishes them from the works of his contemporaries. Born in 1915, David passed away from a heart attack in 1970. Tsikewa learned silversmithing from the renowned Horace Iule in about 1937 and by the mid-1940s was carving small fetishes for necklaces at the request of Ruth Kirk of the well-known Gallup, NM trading family. Although he continued silversmithing, he began focusing on carving fetishes by the mid-1950s. According to fourth-generation Indian trader Joe Tanner of Gallup, Tsikewa and Leekya Deyuse were the top of the heap of fetish carvers in the last half of the 20th century. In 1966, Tsikewa's fetishes were prominent at the Heard Museum's Zuni Show." The owner kept the necklace tucked away, only to pull it out for special occasions. The earrings were made to go with it. What I can tell you about the piece is that it has three strands, each with 19 hand-carved natural gemstone or shell bird fetishes, for 57 fetishes total. They are strung with fine pen or olive shell in between, and the stringing is still in great condition on account of the fact that she wore this only on special occasions. The fetishes are slightly graduated in size, getting smaller toward the tips of the necklace, and they are each unique, not only different sizes but also different thickness and other variations in the carving that tells us they are wholly handmade. The turquoise birds are my favorite--there are two on each strand--and they range in color from light blue-green to darker blue-green. There are also two black onyx birds, reminding me of the Sonoran ravens that migrate to New Mexico each year. Other stones and shells include spiny oyster, serpentine, Picasso marble, and abalone. Some of the fetishes are thin, especially the shell fetishes, which follow the natural shape of the shells. Others are bigger and fatter. Each fetish is intact and the only damage is an occasional beak that is possibly dulled or slightly broken on the very tip. It's hard to tell what material the piece is strung on as it is so tight, but given that it has no kinks nor stiffness, I would guess that it is strung on waxy twine. The piece ends with sterling silver cones on the ends.

The largest bird fetishes are about 1-1/4" long and the smallest are about 3/4" long. The shortest strand is 26" tip to tip. The longest strand, if you follow the curve of the strand with a soft tape measure, is closer to 28", and the middle one would be 27".

Amazing heirloom piece for the person who cherishes Native American artistry.


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


For More Native Necklaces, Pendants, and Pins: http://bit.ly/2ESs4Tf
Native American Earrings: http://bit.ly/2FyZ8wy
Native American Rings: http://bit.ly/2HQXwyY
Native Bracelets and Watches: https://bit.ly/2NpeypL
Native Belts and Bolos: http://bit.ly/2oz2XKp
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We have loyal customers who return again and again and use the repeat customer discount coupon for 10% off. We set fair prices from the get-go. If something is expensive, you know it's good.

We do run sales occasionally, so watch for those. And we value community. Whether you are a returning customer, Facebook friend, or Instagram follower--our thanks to you is 10% off for supporting this shop. Please go to the About section of the main shop page and click on the social media links. Follow us on one of those platforms, convo to say you've done so and we'll send you the coupon code for 10% off.

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We get correspondance almost daily asking how much certain items are worth or what the price was of items that have sold, and we can no longer respond to these messages.

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