10233 Vintage Bell Trading Post Wide Copper Thunderbird Bracelet
This is a vintage copper bracelet probably from the 1950’s or 1960’s made by Bell Trading Post. The inside of the bracelet is hallmarked with the Bell logo and Solid Copper. The center of the bracelet is stamped with a Thunderbird and the sides are stamped with dancing Kachina’s. The background around the Thunderbird and Kachina’s is stippled and coated with black enamel. There are some marks and patina from use and age. The copper is pliable so it will adjust a little in either direction.
Measurements: Width at Center 2” and Tapers to 1” at Ends, Gap a little less than 1 ⅞”, Inside Circumference excluding the gap 5 ¼”
History of Bell Trading Post
The Bell Trading Post was located in Albuquerque, NM and was founded by Jack Michelson in 1935. They sold "Indian Jewelry" to tourist locations throughout the western U.S. In 1972 their name was changed to Sunbell Corp.
The items manufactured by Bell Trading Post can be categorized as Indian souvenir jewelry. Unlike items entirely produced and designed by Native Americans, souvenir jewelry has a machine-made uniformity and relatively delicate proportions. The pieces were smaller and lighter. Genuine turquoise was used but also imitated. Some pieces were made of sterling and others base metal. Finally, the designs usually had motifs easily recognized by the tourist: thunder birds, rain clouds, and bows and arrows.
Bell Indian souvenir jewelry has recently become collectible. This type of jewelry brings back fond memories of summer vacations and the flashy items we always tried to get our parents to buy.