Wednesday, June 8, 2011

JW Edgar--The Turquoise King of the Southwest

We've had an opportunity to acquire some superior pieces from the J.W. Edgar estate here in Albuquerque. Edgar was referred to as “The Turquoise King of the Southwest” during his 100 years, and on his passing his family has slowly started to offer pieces from his private collection. At one time Edgar owned close to 11 thousand acres of turquoise claims in Nevada, several of them producing much sought after, high grade stones. He sold much of what his mines produced to Indian Trading Posts throughout the Southwest with much of it ending up on the Native American pueblos of New Mexico.

Legendary silversmiths were regularly employed by Edgar to incorporate his best stones into special, one-of-a-kind pieces, many of which Edgar kept for himself, with many more being offered to important collectors, dignitaries and pop culture icons. Often pieces would return to Edgar in trade when someone wanted to either upgrade or have something designed especially for them. He was the “go-to guy” when you wanted the best available. RG Armstrong had this chip inlay watch bracelet custom made by one of Edgar's silversmiths, and later traded it for something else. With Armstrong's extensive stage, film and television presence, starting in the late 1930s and lasting beyond 2000, this is not only a highly desirable work of Native American art, but an important Hollywood collectable.

The acquisition of two, Old Navajo Pawn Bow Guards / Ketohs has been a real feather in our cap as far as adding to our museum worthy offerings. The stones and craftsmanship are completely "over the top" on both of them and we're very excited to add them to the Native Treasures collection. You can get a good look at them in the video, they're located in the Featured Pieces category on the website and include some extensive provenance in their descriptions.

As negotiations continue we're confident that additional pieces from this impressive estate will become available. We'll keep you posted!

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