Anthropology of Jewelry: Luxurious Jewelry in the Ancient Americas

“Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas” currently exhibited at the Met museum showcases the finely made gemstone and gold laden piece of the “ancient” Americas. It is a tantalizing presentation into the complex culture and skill level of the ancient Americas to say the least. As a doctor of anthropology, my focus of study was indigenous North American and Brazilian cultures, so I could not wait to see these material cultural items in person. I interned at the university at the Snite museum at Notre Dame and I remember well the Olmec and Native North American pieces we had the privilege to work with.  Although such an exhibit has many positives for the jewelry world, such as the study of culture and debunking the stereotypes of these peoples as “savage”; many aspects must be taken into consideration to properly understand these items.  As some of them were for ritual and spiritual use it would be, per most Native North American cultures, disrespectful to photograph them. I tried to avoid this whenever possible. We as observers should count ourselves lucky to see these pieces as some of which were taken to the grave with the intent to function there. This is also one reason why current artist’s shouldn’t borrow shapes and inspire from such indigenous sacred objects technically speaking, if one hopes to respect the culture. In an ideal situation they would still be there, but as anthropologist I do understand this discipline’s early role in gathering “artifacts” to preserve for science and the pitfalls of that history today as we grapple with the study of the “other”. However; discussions about how they should have been documented and left in the context found or displayed in the original country of origin are becoming more prevalent. While some of them are on loan from those origin countries, which is great, one should not forget that the indigenous descendants of many of these cultures are indeed still living today and we should endeavor to continue to connect those worlds.  The Maya come to mind of course… I am grateful to see such items in person, but I cannot truly speak of them without addressing some of these aspects.

The “wind” Jade Collar discovered in Mexico at the Calakmul tomb. 660A.D.-750.

The spiritual element is extremely important, as the function of most of this jewelry displayed ranged from that, to status, political power, gender, and beauty.  Regalia worn by rulers, on special occasions, and outside of rituals represent some of this complex negotiation, and they can be viewed as such.  However, as many pieces were with the ruler in death it branches from status into functioning as part of the spirituality of the culture, which is complex. Overall gold, jadeite, obsidian, crystal, amber, feathers, turquoise, and shell were reserved for non utilitarian items. Sacred gold helmets with bird feathers found in tombs are such an example.  Of course, the importance of the material varying depending upon the culture making the pieces.  The exhibit did a fine job, as well of discussing trade and how far some of these special materials were transported before becoming jewelry or adornment thus increasing it’s worth to those societies. The items being used over generations and the artistic complexities displayed helped to paint a clearer image for the viewer.

Example of how royalty can show status in their role as leader, while it has spiritual symbols the level is not as high as burial objects or such used in actual rituals.

In the jewelry world here in the United States, in the idea of luxury is often associated with gold or diamonds, however in circles of costume jewelry collectors, it is not material but the designer or rarity that colors its overall worth. This one of the important details of understanding material culture and how value is decided by the cultures creating it, not necessarily by the rarity.  In the ancient Americas this was also the case as a feather or jadeite could be the material of choice for spiritual or status laden works of body jewelry.  As such we must remember we are gazing through a lens which values golden jewelry, so that is what is most heavily displayed at such exhibits, although again they did a good job of including and discussing jadeite, shell and such.

So we come to the crossroads of how understanding the ancient Americas is important and whether we can try to merge this desire with respect and awe. The works displayed here really do a fantastic job of illustrating the fine craftsmanship and what luxury meant to these cultures. It gives us the history of gold working and technology exchange in the Americas. Their research has helped to highlight how women of power also wore such jewelry and nose plugs. They present us with the works of great artists and put value on the endeavors of these societies in a magical way. There are lots of newly discovered items, even some rescued from the ocean such as the “Fisherman’s treasure” an item looted but was lost in the ocean, which saved it from being melted down! See the Met video below and our favorite pieces from our trip.  With various exhibit tours and discussions happening this month be sure to check it out in person! It ends May 28th. Exhibit Text link here.

Our favorite jewelry and objects to see:

Pectoral, spirals hammered gold. Nahuange. A.D. 200-900. Colombia, Magdalena, Santa Marta.

Ear Ornaments. Peru.

Ear Ornaments. Peru.

Ear Ornaments Narino, A.D. 800-1300. Colombia, Narino Highlands Consaca.

Octopus Frontlet. Gold Peru, La Mina. A.D. 300-600. Would have been affixed to a headdress.

Serpent Labret or lip plug. Aztec. A.D. 1300-1521.

Spanish crown of the Virgin, 1660-1770 showing influences of pre Columbian cultures.

Colombia Tolima region. 1 B.C.- A.D. 700. Pendant.

Jadeite, Maya plaques. A.D. 700-900

Peru, chest ornament. A.D. 200-1470.

Peru, chest ornament. A.D. 200-1470.

Spear thrower, Diadem, Nose ornament, ear ornaments, ear pendants, Pectoral. Calima Yotoco 100 B.C.-A.D. 800
Regalia worn in life and death.

Ear Ornaments Mexico, Tenochtitlan A.D. 1486-1502.

Tabard, 1,446 plaques of shell, thought to be similar to those used by warriors. This one is symbolic (possible reference to water and fire and opposing elements of the cosmos). found in the Burned Palace. offering to ruler or burial. Toltec. A.D. 900-1200.

Helmet and Armband. Crocodilian beings and birds. Panama Sitio Conte.

Circular plaque, usually affixed to a garment. Crocodile god. Monkey pendant. Emerald and quartz pendants set in gold.
Cocle A.D. 700-900. Panama.

Fine group of ornaments from Peru’s North coast. High status individuals wore such ear ornaments. Cupisnique, 800-500B.C.

*All images taken by Sarara Couture at the exhibit.

Sunday Jewelry Report Card: Ushering in Spring with Madina Visconti Jewelry

Today’s jewelry report card selection is almost like a necessary ritual to bring forth spring. Her pieces seemingly contain a sort of earthly power held in the enamels and forms.  Let’s just say I now know what I want to wear to the May pole and the city next time I’m there. The A++ jewelry report card goes to Madina Visconti di Modrone. She is based in Milan and her jewelry roots itself in both modern form/sculpture, and natural incarnations. It feels like her enamels are catching the perfect Italian light and freezing it for us. Her work is also playful, the right scale, and has movement.  Her mother Lucio Fontana, was a jeweler and she remembers as well as draws from her childhood experiences.  The pieces are not fine jewelry in the sense of gold, but are on that level, yet allow the jewelry lover to indulge.  Each piece is made in 24k gilt bronze and silver.  The family talent runs deep with her sister Osanna also creating objects and furniture.  

She has a boutique in Milan’s historical center on Via Santa Maria for anyone who is in the area.  The jewelry designer has been featured in Vogue, W as one to watch, and worked on collaborations with Matthew Chevallard founder of a footwear brand, as well as designers presenting at Milan fashion week.  As Vogue mentioned in their article about Madina, she made a series of bronze pieces for the shoes including Italian food elements such as pasta. While her new collection is like the Garden of Eden in spring, other works by her include snakes, thorns, and harder edged themes.  I like her mix of both sides of life.

Her work can be found in her Milan boutique and on-madinavisconti.com as well as Artemest.com.

What We WANT:

 


Why We Follow Her: (well some of her spectacular designs aren’t online and we want to request them, her new items hit instagram and her Milan boutique).

Sunday Jewelry Report: A Walk with Ullmann Antique Jewelry

What is better on a Sunday then to enter the 5th generation jewelry shop as you stroll the streets of London?  I’ve had a fascination with all things from England and really the whole United Kingdom lately, although my first encounter with the area was in my teens, when I spent a bit of time there one summer. Today’s A++ jewelry report goes to A.R. Ullmann antique jewelry. 

The first reason we chose them, is that they are a well established firm, based in London’s “Jewellery Quarter” specializing in Georgian to Art Deco jewelry and everything in between those eras. Also, I love stories that begin ages ago, and such is the story of this particular jewelry destination.

Joseph Ullmann.

In 1902, Joseph Ullmann established his jewelry shop in Budapest. During the 1920s he was joined by his son, officially making it a family affair.  However; in 1944, after over 40 years in business they were forced to flee, because of Nazi invasion.  During this period the original shop was destroyed and looted. But Joseph’s son Andrew was not deterred, and in 1951 he opened the 10 Hatton Garden shop, which is the subject of our jewelry report today.

Their jewelry can be shopped in that original location or online. They are also one to follow on instagram, for their beautiful photographs and unique finds. I love the romantic nature of their pieces and images. With the location and long European history of jewelry design, one never knows what they may find or post. Although, they do seem to have quite the assortment of antique whimsical creature and bug jewelry, as well as fantastic rings!

What We Want:

Why We Follow Them:

KRISTEN DORSEY DESIGNS: Cultural Stories, Strength, and Jewelry

 

Today’s Sunday jewelry report card is about heritage, culture, and jewelry. Kristen’s designs are her own and reflect a sense of style that matches that strong foundation. Her work has modern lines, but it is also about the power of women in society, as well as Chickasaw heritage.  I first saw her work in a post on the popular instagram page Diamonds in the Library. Not a bad one to follow either! Anyway, she is also carried by Vicki Turberville, whose is a favorite of ours!  She has been featured in British Vogue and other publications. What drew me to Kristen’s work immediately, was her use of symbolism, which is steeped in beautiful jewelry design.

Her work also resonates with me, because I also had more than one ancestor on the Trail of Tears, so we share a bit of that southeastern indigenous link.  Kristen is an advocate for authentic Native American design and indigenous art. This subject is important, because I can attest to having seen many people use indigenous motifs and lead people to believe they were Native American artists, referring to things about their time near reservations, their experiences-yet never clarifying that they aren’t really Native American artists.  It is important to realize how much intellectual and cultural heritage is appropriated and used for monetary gain and to try to support artists like Kristen Dorsey, who has strong ties and is actually Chickasaw. Native American identity, indigenous women, law, and stereotypes was a main focus of my doctorate, so I could just go on and on. In her own words:

“I honed my craft at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston while also earning a degree in American studies with a concentration in Native American studies from Tufts University.

The materials and techniques I use reflect my passion for the history of adornment within the southeastern Native American culture. My designs reflect a unique historical and cultural perspective…one which connects me with my cultural identity.

Chickasaw jewelry is characterized by shell carving, copper relief sculpture, and freshwater pearls. Using Mississippian imagery from shell and copper gorgets as my inspiration, I create pieces that reference traditional materials. Working with these materials and imagery connects me to my ancestors”. KristenDorseyDesigns.com

The pieces in her line tell a story as she says in ‘metal and stone’. She uses materials also once important to her people like pearls. See her detailed historical link here. Yet, while culture informs some of her choices, it shouldn’t be thought that her work is all about the past or that Native Americans are static. Her jewelry has a very personal style…she plays with modernity and geometric shapes.  Her Hatchet Woman collection has these two aspects interconnected. In one way, she discusses the fact that Chickasaw women could be warriors, but in another embraces femininity and contemporary jewelry design.  The Panther pieces highlight the strength of Chickasaw women leaders, but they are beautiful pieces without any knowledge at all of that narrative.  Sky serpent, is also a favorite of mine for it’s ancient roots and modern lines. The scale of her jewelry is great, large and fierce. You can really see this on the body, as seen in the images we’ve included here. Her work is available on her website kristendorseydesigns.com and in various shops as seen via this link. USE THE CODE: SARARA on her website for 15% off. 

What We Covet: 

Why We Follow Her: 

* All images belong to Kristen Dorsey Designs. From her instagram and website. Rights Reserved.

Brazilian Jewelry History(Joias de Crioulas): The Balangandán and the Charms of Bahia

Image from O que e que a Bahia tem. Museu Carlos Costa Pinto. 2006.

One of the things I loved about teaching anthropology at Scad, was exploring adornment and culture. The students loved learning more about how material culture gives us clues about our belief systems and diverse histories.  In this case, anthropology opened up a discourse concerning diversity, status, gender, and jewelry.  My training was in indigenous cultures and visual anthropology as well.

Jewelry is such an important aspect of culture.  Many cultures use jewelry to indicate status, gender cues, clan affiliation, and for monetary means as well.  Women in patrilineal cultures have traditionally used jewelry to survive, storing and hiding pieces to be used easily and converted to money during times of war or strive. Cultures value different stones, woods, and materials. One of my favorite examples of this, that I came into contact with while living in Brazil, was the Blanagandan.  This piece of jewelry represents the encounter between Portuguese culture and Africans in Brazil. This sad, but rich history, began when slaves were brought to Brazil after many of the enslaved indigenous populations started to die of disease.  With them, they brought the beliefs of the many tribes and cultures which they originated from, such as the Yoruba.

Old Yoruba Divination Necklaces. My collection.

The original Balangandans were made of the precious metal silver, at the end of the 17th century with their popularity gaining in the 18th-19th century.  These pieces of jewelry had a direct relationship to status and monetary wealth or value.  There are both Christian and African symbols in the construction of the jewelry. One can recognize properties of divination and symbols straight from Africa, merged here in the balangandan (it has been suggested that this word referred to the sound made when worn). However, it may be more likely related to African linguistic origins.

Image from O que e que a Bahia tem. Museu Carlos Costa Pinto. 2006. Notice how the Balangandan is worn at the waist.

Specifically, Balangandans were worn by freed slaves and some slaves whom the ‘owners’ favored, but because these pieces had more references to Africa and non Catholic elements they were used or worn in more specific situations, than they “creole or freed slave gold jewelry”. However, it is really important to emphasize that these were objects of jewelry that were indeed negotiated by the African women themselves. They control their image and status using these objects, which also included fine earrings, bracelets, necklaces and rings of gold. This is something that did not happen visually obvious for North American freed slaves. Brazilian Creolo women and freed slaves obtained a status that showed in the women of Bahia and their gold jewelry. It was stacked sky high both inside and outside the house, when the occasion was correct. This was especially the case of the freed creole women, whose wealth grew as they were sought out by Catholic women for spiritual advice and secret solutions of non Catholic origin. They were paid for such services and their status often grew.  Many were practicing a form of Candomblé, yet keeping Catholicism in some aspects.  Another important detail to realize is that these Balangandans were not necklaces, but belts where charms were personalized and added for the purposes of the wearer.

Probably one of the best sources in the world is the Museum of Carlos Costa Pinto in Salvador. Their text which was published for a collection exhibit which contained “creole” and slave jewelry is in Portuguese, and has many historically rich details. The text discusses how the overall exaggerated use of layers of jewelry used by women in Bahia, led to Carmen Miranda’s persona and accessories styling. They discuss the possibility of slave women also earning enough jewelry to in some instances buy freedom. The jewelry’s relationship to the women is complex as suggested by this quote:

“A opulencia e um ultima instancia, uma exteriorização de luxo e riqueza, mesmo podendo dar uma impressao falso de que a exibe. Joias de rainha para mulheres do povo, livres ou escravas. Joias atraentes, capazes de sinalizar poder e distinção” ( O que e que a Bahia tem, 56. Ourivesaria do Museu Carlos Costa Pinto) Simone Trindade.  Translation: This opulence, is an instance where the appearance of luxury and riches is possible to at the same time, give one a false impression of what they are exhibiting.  Jewelry fit for a queen, but instead used by poorer women free or enslaved.

Image from O que e que a Bahia tem. Museu Carlos Costa Pinto. 2006.The jewelry of these women also included gold pieces, like huge cuffs and necklaces, also bearing a mix of Catholic and African references. This was particularly the case in 1881, when slaves were freed and such precious metals came to symbolize power in freedom.  In some ways, it was important to have some relationship to the dominant religion, while at the same time hiding certain beliefs in the symbolism. The Balangandan is made up of the chain, thicker usually used as a belt, the “nave” or charm holder, and the charms. It was very specific to the user, charms chosen according to what they needed or valued. It seems that there was a use for specific charms alone versus the entire Balangandan, which was also negotiated when needed. The Balangandan had a mystic and religious function and was not publicly demonstrated as much as the gold bracelets and such. Older women of status would bring them out specifically for festivals or gatherings as well. They seem to be tied to wealth, whereas the Balangandan is more tied to use and status. Although there are some more commonly used symbols intact, many referencing male and female aspects as well:

Image from O que e que a Bahia tem. Museu Carlos Costa Pinto. 2006. Antique Balanganda. 30 charms on silver.

pomegranate-wealth prosperity

fish-reference to Jesus and ample food

The Key-control, access to that which is locked.

Dipper- fertility

Tooth- to take on the properties of the animal and to protect

Figa to ward off evil, popular in Brazil ( North African and Mediterranean origin)

Pages 64-65 of the Museum booklet found at Carlos Costa Pinto describes the symbols in more detail.

Repro pieces made for tourists after the 19th century are often brass and examples from the 50s look like necklaces in silver metals, smaller scale-usually uniform in materials, thin tin metals, and caste construction in some cases. In terms of the older rarer examples there are ways to tell, such as the maker’s marks, style of construction, and material.  This rich iconography continues to be a big part of the culture of the area and is a fascinating example of gender, women’s roles and the power of jewelry as a symbol.

Image from O que e que a Bahia tem. Museu Carlos Costa Pinto. 2006. Balangandan. Antique example. Showing authentic construction and diverse materials used.

Jewelry Report Card: The Designs of Billie Hilliard

Custom choker, by request. $478.

This Sunday we travel back south to from Texas to Atlanta, GA (my old stomping ground) to the home of a designer who fits the bill for an account and designer to follow. Her jewelry report card grade is an A++! Her brand Billie Hilliard, merges fashion with a sense of heirloom design.  Her jewelry has been worn by Queen Bee, enough said…. She has been featured in magazines like Oh Brides and Essence. You can also follow her blog for more inspiration and style posts. 

How did it all begin? It seems that Billie studied fashion design and even modeled for United Colors of Benetton in her early career. She decided to pursue her passion of jewelry design and is sold in boutiques worldwide.  Studying her jewelry style and pieces, in a few minutes, it is easy to see this gal has talent.  Her designs are fluid and warm, they harken back to the 70s brutalist influences, but in a very modern way. Her jewelry appeals to me because there is a definite sense of structure to the “brutalist” aspects.  She uses wax casting and makes these by hand. Shop our favorite pieces below!

What We WANT:

 

Why We Follow Her:

*All images from Billie’s website and instagram. Rights Reserved.

BILLIE HILLIARD, 1200 FOSTER STREET NORTHWEST, ATLANTA, GA, 3031

Sunday Jewelry Report in Mid Century Jewelry Heaven

Time to wake up in a mid century home, sunshine streaming in those oversized, let nature in windows, and sit down with a cup of coffee in your Herman Miller lounger… I do this every morning well, except for that lounger I can’t seem to find at my comfortable budget zone.  Today’s jewelry report card is for my mid century lovers, and actually, this is a store you can get the chair and the jewelry!

I chose Nordlings Vintage Jewelry on instagram because I love a page with focus and expertise. It is part of the larger NordlingsAntik.com or Nordlings Antik on instagram.  Besides, I’m also indulging myself a little with the mid century theme, for those of you who don’t know we are in the midst of our ongoing mid century restoration outside of New York City, in good old Connecticut. Nordlings is actually based in Stockholm, opened by the family in 1973, but you can shop online as well. If you are in Sweden, be sure to check out their happenings or events up online here. Furniture and art enthusiasts won’t be disappointed either.

The online shop is full of lust worthy mid century works of jewelry art organized by artist.  Spanning mens cufflinks to women jewelry; Tapio Wirkkala to Lissa Vitali. The shop also includes unique unsigned examples as well.

What We Want: (it is in Kr but the have a USD option on the site)

 

$2100 KR or around 255 dollars.

1,034 US dollar

Nordlings jewelry store focuses on Scandinavian design in particular of the mid century.  Their instagram page is a plethora of jewelry being worn and displayed as it comes into the store. Its a clean and fun aesthetic that won’t mess up you instagram feed, but instead enhance it.

Why We Follow Them:

Sunday Report Card: Modern Magic at Cyril Jewelry

Lily Stewart in the Orbital Drops and Satellite ring in Russh Magazine.

Today’s jewelry report card is about discovering something new. We’ve chosen this artist’s jewelry account to follow for a few reasons. There is something a little entrancing, almost enchanting about the work of New York based jewelry designer Leila Du Mond of Cyril Studio.  Launched in 2017, it is a new brand, with tons of potential! The pieces are made in the city by hand and retain a minimal but magic style. The crystals she uses are mounted in 14k or sterling,and bounce light beautifully of the human form. There is a sensuality about how they are made and worn, yet the are beautifully modern.  The crystals remind me of antique pools of light pieces in theory, but her application of them is so different and well molded.

Firstly, her construction of the “crystals” seems to be lighter and uniquely mounted. Her hand carved examples seem almost molded to the sculptural fittings that surround them.  Read about her process in a detailed an interesting interview here.  She’s one to watch and you can do that from her instagram account where she posts some of her new pieces and one of a kind creations.  Let’s see where her investigation into light takes us!

What We Want: 

Why We Follow Her:

*All images from the Cyril Studio’s website and instagram page. Rights Reserved.

Oscar Sunday: Jewelry Report Card Muse

Lainy Hedaya in Aron & Hirsch jewelry at Muse.

Some people like Christmas morning, for fine jewelers there may be no other better beginning to the day than Oscar morning. Our choice for the jewelry report card A++, one to follow, has been chosen because they work hard to showcase unique jewelers, include ethical stone practices, and are a influencer’s hidden gem when reporting on the fine jewelry market.

It all started with an international trip to Tel Aviv and a custom wedding band. That young designer was Yossi Harari. Muse, began at that moment. It was founded by the band’s commissioner, Jennifer Shanker, WJA award winner.  She has an established history in the jewelry biz, and in 2016 Muse partnered with GEMFIELDS, using ethically sourced and sustainably mined gemstones. GEMFIELDS X MUSE is in its own right a sustainable and gorgeous charm filled jewelry line. However, if you want to be on top of the fine market and meet new jewelers ahead of them blowing up, following @museshowroom on instagram is a start. We’re betting that we will see some pieces from Muse tonight at the Oscars. Besides Oprah frequently sources her finds there, and if it is good enough for O, it is good enough for me!

The carpet will be full of diamonds, emeralds, and rubies…so why not take a look inside Muse, who has worked to elevate colored gemstones to an artform. They are a leader in showcasing the next big thing in the world of fine jewelry. They stock a group that is both international and in many cases,exclusive to Muse. Here are a list of some of their current jewelry designers. Also, they don’t carry everything online so following them means you’ll be the first to see new designs. If you are in the New York area, one could benefit from a trip to the showroom to see the amount of pieces they really do carry.

Elena Vosti
Holly Dyment
Julls Brasil*
Joana Salazar
Michelle Fantaci
Nancy Newberg
Nikos Koulis
Silvia Furmanovich (fine jewelry and preciously worked bags)
Tara Hirshberg
What We Want:
How does this relate to tonight’s Oscars, well a little birdy told my we can expect to see plenty of Nikos Koulis on the carpet among other jewelers tonight. While the Oscars is usually full of large diamonds, it would indeed be fun to see some color.  Now, if you were following the work of the showroom you would have a leg up on this already!   So to celebrate the work of these designers we have chosen our favorite pieces, and those we think are very red carpet worthy.

Silvia Furmanovich bags at Muse.

Nikos Koulis jewels from Muse

Nikos Koulis jewels from Muse.

 

Carolina Neves earrings at Muse.

 

Joana Salazar earrings from Muse.

Keeping up with Muse on instagram is a way to discover new whimsical designers. Not to mention it is a plethora of pretty sparkly images. The pieces they post are enough to make any Conneoisseur’s mouth water.

*All images from Muse Showroom online, its jewelers, and its instagram images. Rights Reserved.

Yara Shahidi image via Vanity Fair, Nagi Sakai photo.

Jewelry Report Card: Vicki Turbeville and a Turquoise Dream

Wake up jewelry lovers, it’s Sunday and time for us to drink coffee and figure out what’s for breakfast, but most importantly it new jewelry report card time! Like all good things her story began with London, a trip out west and Nina Garcia.

This is an A++ seller and instagram account to indulge in for many reasons! Vicki Turbeville’s images and jewelry are editorial, full of history, and culture. This one is special to me because of my ancestry, my wish to support indigenous rights and arts, and the importance of buying such pieces from a respectful seller. You will be waking up to some great Native American artist reports soon.  I noticed Vicki on instagram and started to pay attention to how many contemporary Native American artists work with her, and how she seemed to have a fair relationship with these special items as well. She understands their context and the rich sources that can be found in terms of current Native artists today.  I find her jewelry collection reaches past basic examples into the finely designed and rare as well. This is based on my collecting since I was very young, when I first met a 80 year old man with a stash from his time out west.  Oh, yes I got the best/ largest ring to add to my collection from her and I collect and stock Native American pieces- so that says a lot!

Vicki began her online presence in 2004 after living in London and noticing English friends collecting Native American pieces. Maybe it was a little nostalgia for her homeland or maybe it was just her recognizing the importance of a truly “American” art form.  With a trip out west, as soon as she returned stateside her business began and she started selling at shows. Enters Nina, who met her at said small show, and asked her to come to the offices to showcase some of her pieces. After a vintage concho belt made to the cover on Uma Thurman in 2006, her small website quickly blossomed.  She had a shop in NYC for many years until moving to Redondo Beach California, merging her business with her real life partner, whom she met in New York!

Native American pieces can be an investment, really they should be… There are imitations out there and sometimes you pay for what you get.  Great older jewelry is increasingly harder to find, it is something I spend true time when shopping for the store, so I know for Vicki to have acquired such a collection she’s put in effort and expertise. She regularly stocks some unique and fab vintage finds.

Her instagram account: Why we love it-Besides all of the sea of turquoise she posts, what her account ig offers are lots of pieces by current Native American artists being shared in visually stunning images.

 

What we want:

*All images belong to Vicki, from her website and instagram account

Visit Vicki online or at
304 Vista Del Mar, Suite A, Redondo Beach, CA 90277
Hours: Wed-Saturday 12-5pm

Vicki Turbeville

To read more on Native American jewelry, see our article here.