This vintage stacked turquoise fetish necklace is a mystery. The necklace features close to 100 individual carved turquoise animal fetishes, graduated in size with a huge grizzly bear at the center and a myriad of animals up the sides. One side has slightly more fetishes than the other. The stacked style is something you see in non-Native American made necklaces. I've had two experts in fetishes look this over, and both have concurred that fetishes look like they may have been carved in the Navajo style. The necklace was part of the estate of a collector/dealer from the Midwest who would travel all over the country buying jewelry. We know she bought the piece in the late 1980s to early 1990s. While the turquoise is stabilized, it is authentic, and with the individual carving of each fetish. There are so many different animals on this necklace, including turtles, badgers, wolves, seals, rabbits, and others. This came to me with a pair of stacked fetish earrings by Zuni/Navajo artist Johnny Sheyka, and this necklace could be by that same artist, but unlike the earrings, the necklace did not have a certificate of authenticity saying it was by the Sheyka. John Kennedy in his book "A Good Trade: Three Generations of Life and Trading Around the Indian Capital Gallup, New Mexico" described Sheyka as the "surrogate son" of Frank Turpen. The Turpen brothers are famous in Gallup, having owned trading posts there. According to the excerpt on Skeyka, he taught the Turpen sons how to carve fetishes. I don't know if this was one of those pieces, and that would explain the non-Native style of stacking the fetishes. In any case, I would call this Southwestern and not Native American made, since we have no concrete attribution.
The necklace is long at about 32" around and a hang length of about 17"--which, since doubled is closer to 34" around--the extra length is on account of that long almost 2" long grizzly bear center fetish at the bottom. Total weight is 178g. I have checked all the fetishes carefully and if there are any inconsistencies such as a shorter tail or what have you, those "breaks" happened years ago. It is in great condition, having been stored by the previous owner.
A huge turquoise necklace for the huge animal lover.
Please convo with questions, or call (505) 369-6865. Will return your call as soon as possible.
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