Navajo Sterling Silver, Fire Opal Bearing Agate, Turquoise, and Coin Necklace by Betty Yellowhorse
Native American Navajo Sterling Silver necklace by Betty Yellowhorse - $2200
20-1/4" L -- Necklace without pendant (open)
10" L -- Necklace without pendant (closed)
13" L -- Necklace with pendant (closed)
3-1/4" L x 2-5/8" W -- Pendant
CLASP: Handmade silver hook clasp with Liberty Mercury dime incorporated
A real show stopper! This amazing necklace is handmade by renowned Navajo artist Betty Yellowhorse. The central stone in the naja pendant is a gorgeous teardrop shaped agate cabochon of deep purple with golden brown veining and opalescent flecks. This centerpiece stone is framed by smaller turquoise stones, and the crescent shaped naja is tipped with four coins -- two Barber dimes dated 1912 and 1914, and two Liberty Mercury dimes.
The naja pendant hangs from a strand of dime beads, each hand made of two Liberty Mercury dimes which have been shaped by hand into a dome and soldered together, interspersed with turquoise beads. In addition to the two Barber dimes on the naja pendant, this necklace includes an impressive number of Liberty Mercury dimes (65 in total) dated between1934 and 1945. The closure is a substantial hand made hook and eye clasp adorned by a 1941 Liberty Mercury dime. The back of this necklace is stamped sterling silver, and bears Yellowhorse's hallmark proving its authenticity.
Betty Yellowhorse is an accomplished silver smith, working in the rich Navajo tradition. She is known for incorporating beautiful old coins into her jewelry. Working with silver coins in jewelry is a practice which points to a time before the use of sheet silver and bezel wire, and so coin work taps the deepest roots of tradition in Navajo silver jewelry making. Betty Yellowhorse jewelry is imbued with the richness and beauty of this lineage, not only through traditional techniques and designs, but also by incorporating the long history held in such old coins.
The Liberty Mercury dime is an interesting coin, and one popular among coin collectors. Due to its resemblance to the Roman god, it came to be called a "Mercury" dime, but the winged head actually symbolizes liberty, specifically "liberty of thought." These ten-cent pieces were produced between 1916 and 1945 by the United States Mint, and are composed of 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper. Designed by well-known sculptor and engraver, Adolph A. Weinman, the design was quite popular in its day, but the coin presented problems when used in vending machines, so the design was modified in 1945.
The Barber dime, designed by Charles Barber, began production in 1893. The obverse design is adorned with a profile portrait of Miss Liberty with laurels and a Phrygian cap. As was typical of the period, this dime is composed of 90% silver and 10% copper.
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