Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Silversmith's Daughter

This catalog is typical of those distributed in the 1930's. The copying of Indian Jewelry has been problematic for Native Americans for over a century. Today the anxiety and legal actions have if anything increased despite laws designed to help protect the livelihood of Native American artists. Even though the cover image is deceptive, I have to give the Arrow Novelty Co. some minor credit for honestly calling their machine manufactured jewelry, "Indian Design." The introduction to this catalogue reads:

Coin Silver Jewelry

We present this catalogue to our customers in the hope it will help stimulate the sale of this popular line of Indian design Silver Jewelry, which is strictly American in idea, design and manufacture. It is made of 900 fine silver--the same compositon of metal as used in coining American Silver Dollars.

Most of the jewelry in this wholesale catalogue is sold by the dozen lot. Simple stamped bracelets were marketed to dealers for as little as $6.00 per dozen.

The Silversmith's Daughter picture that graces the brochure is actually printed backward. Her jewelry, unlike that in the catalogue, is authentic Native American. A colorized commerical post of her image is available for sale through Allposters.com.

Silversmith’s Daughter January 1920 by JR Willis, Library of Congress, Photo Lot 59, LOC, Small Mounts, Tribe Id, Navaho, People Unid, 1 03275400, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution