Up for your consideration is this vintage Native American handmade bolo, featuring a multistone inlaid sterling silver Apache Mountain Spirit Gahn Dancer, created by Zuni legend Vera Luna (1930-1982). Vera Luna was an exceptional Zuni Silversmith & Lapidarist who specialized in channel inlay work. She is perhaps most famous for her "Spirit Dancer" design. As a noted Zuni artist, her work is featured in many high end galleries, collections, and in all the major Native Jewelry catalogs and reference books. Her work is highly sought after by enthusiasts and collectors. Each piece can be considered one of a kind because, although the design is the same, Vera would change the position or size or color of the inlay to make it unique. The stones used in this bolo are turquoise, coral, mother of pearl, gold lip mother of pearl, jet, and most likely (looks like) tortoise shell (which would help date the bolo to prior to 1973 -the year when the material was banned for use.).
The main bolo piece measures 4-3/8 inches tall by 2-1/2 inches wide. Locking Bennett pat. pending clasp on the back. The silver tips are 2-1/2 inches long. The black leather bolo tie is in very good shape. The cord including the tips is about 44 inches long end to end. Excellent overall vintage condition, needing only a polish.
This piece was purchased from a private estate collection. circa 1970's. It is stamped V. LUNA. Pictures of slight variations of this Spirit Dancer Bolo can be found in various collector publications. Please see the almost identical bolo pictured on page 383 of Gregory Schaaf's book "American Indian Jewelry II: A-L".
This bolo has a Bennett Pat Pend slide. The bolo slide on the backs on Native American bolos can aid in determining the age of a vintage bolo. Bolos were not made much before the 1930's. During that time, the backs of bolos were made with coin silver wires, not sterling. 1941 was the year sterling came into play. Bolos marked with a Bennett Pat Pend C31 slide were made between 1957 until some time in 1967. Slides marked with a Bennett Pat Pend slide were made from 1967 - 1983. Sometime in 1983 saw the elimination of the stamped Bennett slide.