Alice Quam Bracelet 14k Gold Overlay on Sterling Silver w/ Morenci Turquoise


American Indian Silversmith

This stunning work of art was made by the famous Zuni maker Alice Quam using 2 ounces of 14k Yellow Gold and 2 ounces of Sterling Silver.  Using overlay techniques developed by the Zuni 100 years ago, she fused heavy gold beads, bezel and chiseled molding on top of a Sterling Silver cuff base, and set that with five bright blue, fine gem-quality carved Morenci Turquoise nugget cabochons. 

Alice Quam comes from a family of jewelry-making royalty among the Zuni that includes her parents Wayne and Doris Ondelacy, and her sister and brother-in-law Robert and Bernice Leekya.  A true convergence of American Indian jewelry-making dynasties, the Quam's and Leekya's art is highly sought after and they only work with the best materials. Signed A.Q. inside, Alice Quam started using this mark in the 1960s when she became famous for very finely done petit-point cluster designs. In the early 1980's she experimented in this more "Navajo-style" chunky or sometimes called "heavy-metal" technique (favored by Robert and Bernice Leekya at that time and also by her daughter Alvina Quam). Only a few examples are known by Alice Quam in this style. The original price tag is still inside, and shows the first owner paid $2800 for it when new (we were told by this man that he bought it directly from the artist in 1983 for his wife who never ended up wearing it). Being large and impressive, this also suited for a man and has a unisex presentation.

The natural turquoise pieces in this bracelet are breath-taking.  They likely come from the Morenci mine in Arizona, known for the bright blue color, black matrix, with mica and clear quartz crystal inclusions in the stone.  The quartz was exposed by carefully carving away the turquoise part of the stone to reveal the beautiful crystals embedded within, then polishing the surface to a high gloss.  Alice Quam outdid herself with these gems, both in her choice of material and artistic lapidary work--the crystals look like diamonds in the turquoise for a stunning effect!  Traditional Zuni peoples believe quartz crystals are sacred and they are used in their religious ceremonies, making these all the more special.

3.25"L x 1.6"W x 2.15"H

9"L measured outside circumference

5.3"L interior circumference not including gap

7"L interior circumference including 1.7"L gap

This important bracelet was chosen from the R+G collection by Gretchen Jones to wear at her Spring 2012 New York Fashion Week Presentation on September 9, 2012. Here Gretchen was photographed by Mr. Newton of Harpers Bizaar wearing an emerald top from her Spring/Summer 2011 collection paired with a vintage orange leather skirt and this amazing cuff.


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