Vintage Fred Harvey-era jewelry, from left to right: vintage knifewing box, ca. 1930s, $395; vintage thunderbird pendant with turquoise, ca. 1950s, $495; vintage stamped bracelet with turquoise, ca. 1940s, $825. Photograph by Inga Hendrickson.
FRED HARVEY NEVER GOT TO FULLY see his company's jewelry line. When the hotelier and entrepreneur died, in 1901, the company had only recently embarked on a turquoise jewelry line that carried Harvey's name throughout the West. Harvey already had trackside restaurants, souvenir shops, and hotels to his name, and company officials had noticed that tourists were looking for Native American jewelry that was lighter, cheaper, and more playful than the traditional heavy silver pieces common at the time. In response, they enlisted Native artists in New Mexico and Arizona to manufacture pieces featuring lightning bolts, dogs, and crossed arrows, and paired these playful images with natural, unstabilized turquoise from mines in Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico, including the Cerrillos mines outside of Santa Fe.
Vintage Fred Harvey-era jewelry, clockwise from top left: vintage bird pin with turquoise, ca. 1930s, $275; vintage Navajo pinkie ring, ca. 1940s, $290; vintage three-stone turquoise ring, ca. 1940s, $325; vintage crossed arrows cuff, ca. 1930s, $650; vintage Cerrillos cuff, ca. 1930s, $390; vintage Navajo stamped dish, ca. 1940s, $475. Photograph by Inga Hendrickson.
More than 100 years later, family-owned Peyote Bird Designs, in Santa Fe, carries on the legacy by scouting for vintage Fred Harvey–era jewelry made between 1900 and 1950. Amanda Alexander, director of innovation at Peyote Bird, has reviewed hundreds of pieces in search of the most breathtaking oxidized silverwork and whimsical motifs. In January, Peyote Bird began selling more than two dozen pieces acquired from collectors. “The value in this jewelry comes from the story,” says Alexander, “the romance of traveling the railroad to the Wild West.”
The majority of the pieces sold out within three days. However, Peyote Bird plans a second release in mid-April, featuring another 20 to 30 authentic Fred Harvey cuffs, pins, and rings. “These designs are simply happiness,” says Alexander.
Purchase Fred Harvey jewelry from the private collection of Peyote Bird Designs, in Santa Fe.