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 beautiful stamp-work on the tops and tips of the wings, rays at the neck, and waves of water below the set turquoise stone on 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 old this pendant is...it could be vintage. The inside of the bale is a bit over half an inch which allows it to go over larger sized beads. This is a very special pendant.
Size: 3.25" H x 1.375" 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.