Sunday, August 31, 2008

Harlan's Birds

Harlan Coonsis (1958- ) is recognized worldwide as a Zuni master jewelry maker. In the early days when he collaborated with his first wife, Rolanda he did the silverwork; she did the stonework. He now collaborates with his present wife Monica. When working by himself and with Rolanda, Harlan signs his work H. R. COONSIS ZUNI. When working with Monica he uses H. M. COONSIS. His work commands high prices and includes the customary broad range of Native American jewelry offerings including pin/pendants as shown, belt buckles, rings, concho belts, and bolo ties. He is especially well known for his inlaid birds. The above 2 1/4 inch tall pieces market in the range of $250 to $400 each. Inlay includes, mother of pearl, turquoises, Acoma jet, coral, and abalone. The birds come alive with his precision etching. Harlan's birds are widely distributed for sale throughout the Southwest. The birds above all have a stylistic similarity and each is identified by script etching on their back side: Cardinal, Steller's jay, Roadrunner, and Blue jay. They are all native birds of the Zuniland.