Navajo Tufa Cast Water Bird Pendant with Coral

Navajo Tufa Cast Water Bird Pendant with Coral


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This water bird pendant was made from coin silver which was melted down and poured into a tufa carved in which the bird was carved - more about tufa cast below.  The water bird is an important aspect of the Native American Church ceremonies and is revered.  This water bird pendant has hogan (traditional Navajo dwelling) with two feathers stamped in on the top of each wing, with another feather and a fire above the tail.  The bale is large enough for 10mm beads or several strands of much smaller beads.  It is stamped "COIN SILVER" and "BUFFALO DANCER" on the back.  We don't know how this pendant could be vintage.  This is a very special pendant.

Size: 3.25" H x 1.25" W

Tufa is a volcanic stone which can be as dense as chalk which has an organic texture. The first thing a jeweler does is examine a piece of tufa for any tiny fractures.  If it looks good, the tufa is cut in half and, if there is a design, it is carved into the tufa.   There is a pour hole carved into the top and several narrow vents carved into each side.  The two pieces are then bound tightly together and molten silver or gold is poured through the hole at the top.  If there are any microscopic cracks, the tufa explodes when the metal is poured in and the process has to begin again.