1930's-40's Copper Bell Trading Post Unisex Cuff
One of the earliest examples of jewelry made for Bell Trading Post by Native American craftsman. This copper cuff has a rolling wave design which represents continual renewal or cycle of life. The copper is straight with NO bends or dents. The surface can be polished out to a bright luster, however, I have chosen to leave the patina and wear due to this cuff's age. The bell symbol which is stamped inside is the first mark used by the Bell Trading Co.. Others followed during the 1960's and on. Smooth on the inside and very comfortable to wear. This piece belongs to the family of a Santa Fe archaeologist who has since retired. Many of his discoveries and researched items are housed at Disney's Epcot Center. This cuff can be worn by a lady or gent and in good solid condition.
- Solid Copper (stamped)
- Manufactured by unknown Native American artisan for the Bell Trading Post
- Rolling Waves Meaning- Continual Renewal / Life Cycle
- 6 3/4" inch wrist size, including gap (can be adjusted with pressure)
- 1 1/4" inches face width
- 38.94 grams
Bell Trading Co. Bio below
All items include Tracking
Insurance for package values over $200 will be added at no additional charge
Packages over $200 will be Signature Required
In 1932 during the worst of the Great Depression, Jack Michelson and his wife formed Bell Trading Post. Choosing a location along the route of the newly established highway “Route 66”. Following the business plan of famed entrepreneur Fred Harvey, Jack hoped to support his family selling Native American jewelry to travelers passing through Albuquerque New Mexico.
The early 1930’s were extremely difficult and jobs were in short supply. While this provided Jack with an abundance of Native Americans wishing to make his jewelry. Business was still very poor for the new upstart. Forcing Jack to use any cost cutting advantage he could find.
Decades earlier Fred Harvey had realized the Navajo taste in jewelry differed from that of travelers from the East. While traditional Native Americans wore heavy Sterling Silver with large Turquoise stones. The tourist leaned more towards lighter jewelry with smaller settings.1 Due to this reason Harvey had incorporated specialized machinery to mass produce jewelry which catered to the tourist of the day.
By 1935 Bell Trading Post followed suit installing his own machinery which was used by his Native American workers. In addition Jack began creating jewelry from Copper and Nickel Silver to cut cost as well. During these early years Bell Trading Post marked their jewelry with an image of a bell. While using various labels such as “Bell Jewelry”, “Nickel Silver”, “Solid Copper”, and “Sterling”. Even though Bell used these different marks Jack decided not to file the Trademarks during the decade to save the cost. For the most part during the 1930’s Bell had little competition in Albuquerque and Jack didn’t feel the need.
Throughout the 1930’s Bell Trading Post survived thanks to his location on Route 66. Roosevelt’s New Deal brought the CCC, while Truckers used the road for transport.
In 1939 the Great Depression loosened its grip on the nation, yet it also brought competition to Albuquerque. Only a few blocks away Maurice Maisel completed Maisel’s Indian Trading Post in 1939.2 The building elaborately designed in Pueblo architecture. An event which made the two men fierce competitors for the rest of both men’s lives.
During 1940 America was preparing for war.and the US government chose the Southwest as its training grounds. The US spent 230 million on new military bases in Arizona alone.3 Due to the remote arid landscape. As a result the area was teaming with young soldiers away from home for the fist time. Often wishing to send gifts back to loved ones.
This was the beginning of a boom time for Bell Trading Post. Over the next two decades Bell Trading Post would expand production into Collectible Sterling Spoons such as the “San Francisco Cable Car Spoon” while selling their products wholesale to various tourist shops across the Southwest.
visit https://estatesintime.com/jewelry-research/bell-trading-post/ for even more fascinating information about Bell Trading Post Co.