Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Too Good to Sell

This is a topic that is not often enough discussed by dealers.  When is something too good to sell?  For me personally, there are three factors which should be met that tip the balance in favor of not selling an item:

1. The item has great form;
2. great age; and
3. has some personal meaning or importance

Here's a bracelet that fits the criteria for me.  What you have here is a Navajo made 1940s bracelet in the cornstalk pattern.  The corn plant or maize is associated by the Navajo as a sacred plant and is designated with the cardinal point of North.  It is considered a male symbol.  While this isn't probably the very best sandcast bracelet out there, it's very good in its form and finish.  The lines of the corn plant are nice and each branch peaks in a vee.  This vee is desirable in this types of pieces as it shows the sophistication of the carver imparting the shape into the sandstone mold (tufa).  There are older pieces, but this one has nice age.  Note the unpolished patina here as discussed in the earlier post on polishing up antiques.  Pieces of this era, typically unmarked, were not made for the tourist trade.  They were made by Navajo for Navajo.  This is apparent by the heavy weight and overall weighty appearance.

But what else?  There are other sandcast bracelets like this with the age, the symbolism, and the form.  It's the stone.   The original stone in this piece was a turquoise that had been completely ruined by exposure to oil.  So, a replacement was needed.  New turquoise is a very different animal than old turquoise and you have to be very careful in your selection by choosing a piece of stone that is old enough not to be cheap plastic.  This piece was pulled from a Colorado creek by my father in the 1950s.  At some point in my childhood, I was an avid rock collector and my father gave it to me.  I had the piece cut by a very close and old friend to fit the bezel.  It's actually not a turquoise.  It's chrysocolla meandering through a matrix of quartz and metamorphic scree.  All the elements combine and you have a masterwork-- too     good to sell.

I do have other things that I will sell.  Check out the shop!
Crescent City Connection