Circa 1930's Vintage Lone Mountain Turquoise and Silver, Zuni Squash Blossom Necklace. Attributed to Della Casa Appa.
The condition is excellent. It appears unworn. The silver and turquoise are perfect with a slight, beautiful patina to the silver.
Consider this piece among the very finest example of an original (1930's) Zuni Squash Blossom Necklace. It is extraordinary in every way. The turquoise is gem Lone Mountain. The condition is like new. The silversmith is Della Casa Appa. She was the first woman Zuni silversmith and fine jewelry places her among the most significant Zuni silversmiths (of any gender) to have lived. Her jewelry was in CG Wallaces's personal collection.
John D Kennedy was a partner of CG and Della's jewelry was in Kennedy's personal collection as well as CG's collection.
As a matter of fact this piece came from John Kennedy's Collection. John Kennedy recently celebrated his 101 birthday... his photo is included here as is a his own photo of Della Casa Appa. Notice she is wearing a very similar necklace.
This is a museum piece... one that perhaps the Smithsonian, Harvard's Peabody or the Heard Museum would love to own.
This Della Casa Appa was entirely handmade (without the benefit of electricity) from coin silver. The turquoise used was gem Lone Mountain. Lone Mountain Turquoise is among the most expensive turquoise in the world. At the time it was made, people preferred just the blue in turquoise without any matrix. That being the case, cutting the turquoise this way necessitated that 30% to 50% of prime Lone Mountain be wasted to produce the gems that ultimately were set in the necklace.
There was no electricity in Zuni in the 1930's... not until the late 1950's - 1960's did electricity arrive in Zuni. Therefore everything from cutting the gems to all the silver work and soldering was done by hand. This was a time consuming exercise that required great skill, patience and experience.
Imagine setting the many bezels and silver trim on the Naja... heating the silver hot enough to set each bezel and applying the trim on one section of the Naja without the solder holding the completed work on adjoing sections melt, move or come completely apart.
Notice, the color image of Della... that entire page is from the August 1952 issue of Arizona Highways. The article was written by Edgar Ellington, Jr. Mr. Ellington introduces the page stating, "Outstanding examples of Zuni jewelry are shown in color photographs... the six photographs at the top of the page were taken by J.H. McGibbeny... they represnt a considerable investment in money... are from the private collection of CG Wallace..."
Della is wearing a collection of her jewelry. The Necklace she wears is almost identical to this one.
Also, this necklace is near identical to the Della Casa Appa necklace from the Wallace auction (Lot 1035). The catalogue states it was made in 1932. Please take the time to read Sotheby's description. The $1500 to $2000 price was Sotheby's estimated value of the necklace. I do not know what the actual hammer price was.
Please see all the images I've included here in which I compared details of this necklace to documented examples of other Della Casa Appa squash blossom necklaces.
I can find no record of a Della Casa Appa hallmark. That is not unusual considering the period it was made
The Necklace is 23" long
Each Squash Blossom measures 1" from top to bottom
The Naja measures 3" x 2 3/8"
Here is a rare find. Frankly, a must have for any Collector. A wonderful gift too for any Museum's collection should that someday be your wish... talk to your accountant about the tax benefits of such a donation.
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