I didn’t realize how much I liked this little Native American-made turquoise and silver necklace until it disappeared from around my neck on February 28. I bought it on eBay a couple of years ago – in fact the photo is the seller’s, not mine – for not very much money. My efforts to find it, or to let the finder know I’m mourning and pleading for its return, are fruitless so far. So this morning I decided to scour eBay to see if there’s anything that could replace it at a price I’m willing to pay, as is the way of theBay. I searched on “turquoise necklace” minus a few key words, which I think is how I happened on it in the first place. eBay is an interesting market, and for the knowledgeable, patient, and careful buyer, can occasionally provide exceptional items at costs far below value. In 66 pages of hits I found very interesting items and examples of extraordinary creativity and aesthetic. My query did not turn up the perfect substitute. I did, on the other hand, find hundreds of American, Tibetan, Chinese, African and Thai turquoise, faux, and glass, and plastic necklaces variously represented and mis-represented as rare, exotic, huge, charming, museum-quality, vintage, and unique, and a couple, most oxymoronically, as “yellow” or “pink” turquoise. Some are so complicated that I wouldn’t know how to wind them around my neck. Origins are QVC and Chico’s, grandmother’s jewelry box, estates, Indian markets, Taxco, and pawn shops in Gallup. Lots of sellers have naively inflated ideas of the source and worth of their items. I had a good laugh over misspellings, like “gradulated” beads. Some offerings are very appealing and very fine indeed. Buyers recognize that and bidding is hot from the get-go. More are funny, funky, cheesy and tacky, but the most distinct thing about them is that they are saleable at all.
The original had a bright charm and sensibility (not so obvious in the artless photo) with neatly placed silver bead spacers and a few inches of pinshell heishi at the ends that caught in the little hairs on my neck. It had a pleasing rocky heft and old-fashioned, fragile stringing that most likely gave out and dropped it from my neck. I didn’t notice until I got home that evening that it was no longer around me. The maker was anonymous, probably of the Navajo tribe or Santo Domingo pueblo. I would like that maker to know that I loved his or her work and hope that whoever found it, whether they are intentionally or obliviously not returning it, will enjoy and appreciate it. Maybe some day it will turn up on eBay. I would be willing to buy it, again.