Andy Lee Kirk Works Headline A Lifetime Collection of American Indian Jewelry at Garth's

The collection is comprised of over 200 lots of Native American jewelry including necklaces, cuffs, rings, pendants, and belt buckles. Gemstones such as turquoise from Battle Mountain, coral, mother of pearl, jet, malachite, and abalone will offer a wide variety of designs to buyers. Several well known artist’s pieces will be offered throughout the day and will include works by Loren Thomas Begay, Albert & Dolly Banteah, Carol Kee, Raymond Quam, Wayne Silvers, and over 50 pieces by Andy Lee Kirk. Amelia Jeffers, president of Garth’s noted, “while American Indian jewelry frequently comes to market with some degree of regularity, you don't often see  a lifetime collection that has been curated with the kind of interest and enthusiasm. She traveled throughout the West, getting to know the artist’s families, and she learned to love the culture and traditions as well as the jewelry”.
Andy Lee Kirk, from Navajo and Isleta Pueblo heritage, found his passion working with gems and silver while earning his degree in biology from the University of New Mexico. It was there, that Andy began to dabble in jewelry making and it didn’t take long before he was conquering competitions with his artistic innovation of clean modern lines, meaningful symbolism, and bright southwestern colors. Andy often worked with a variety of turquoise from The Blue Gem mine near Battle Mountain. The mine which began production in 1934 and is now closed, produced gems of intense blues to deep green combinations. Due to these rich colors and the hardness of the stones, these blue gems are still highly sought after by collectors today. Using these stones, the talented silversmith won the IACA Artist of the year in 1996; he also won numerous high-ranking awards in the SWAIA Indian Market, including 1st Place, and Best in Division. In Andy’s 54 short years; he became a brilliant jewelry-maker and a nurturer of tradition and culture.

The consignor recalls viewing Kirk’s collection and becoming overwhelmed with the decision regarding which pieces to buy; she quickly solved her problem by purchasing all of them. When reflecting on that trip, she mentioned, “to watch Andy work was fascinating, his artistry was effortless”. Examples of Kirk’s exemplary craftsmanship include an American Indian squash blossom necklace signed “Kirk Isleta Pueblo”. The necklace features eight pendants of Battle Mountain turquoise set in 14K gold with handtooled leaves and floral stations (Estimate: $4,000-6,000). A signed hand-formed gold cuff bracelet with individually set Battle Mountain turquoise cabochon stones and handtooled feather accents descends from Andy Lee Kirk’s personal collection. The cuff garnered Kirk a first-place purple ribbon at the 1975 SWAIA Annual Indian Market in Santa Fe and is expected to sell for $2,500-4,500. Also from Kirk’s private collection, a Gentleman’s ring with a Battle Mountain turquoise center stone. The ring is set in 14K gold and will cross the block with an estimate of $1,200-1,800. An additional signed contemporary cuff bracelet is also set in hand-formed gold with Battle Mountain turquoise stones and will be offered for $1,500-2,500.

A selection of well known artist’s pieces will be offered throughout the day including a 20th century Zuni inlaid character squash blossom necklace by Carol Zee. The whimsical necklace features Snoopy, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck with turquoise, jet, mother-of-pearl, coral, and silver beads.  Att 22” long the necklace is expected to sell for $600-900. An additional Navajo squash blossom necklace by Loren Thomas Begay features an initialed pendant featuring a running horse, silver beads, and eight well-detailed blossom drops set in turquoise. (Estimate: $400-800). An impressive men’s silver cuff bracelet displaying a tiger’s eye eagle and handtooled leaf motif with vertical insets of mother-of-pearl, abalone, coral, and turquoise is signed “J Quam”. (Estimate $800-1,400). A Zuni inlaid Concho belt signed “JW” in dark brown leather has seven round conchos inlaid with various bird and floral designs and an exquisite oval buckle showing a pair of birds perched on a branch. The intricate belt will cross the block with an estimate of $3,000-6,000.

Additional highlights rounding out the sale include a monumental malachite and sterling silver American Indian cuff bracelet with a large malachite stone set in sterling silver with handtooled feathers and beaded detail; the bracelet has a presale estimate of $1,200-1,800. A group of Battle Mountain turquoise nuggets mined in the 3rd quarter-20th century are expected to bring $600-800.

Garth's illustrated catalog is available for purchase by contacting Client Services at 740-362-4771 or may be browsed online at Garth's main gallery is located at 2960 Stratford Road, Delaware, Ohio. Preview hours will be held March 6th-12th and by appointment. Garth’s is accepting quality items for the 2015 auction year. For further information regarding how to sell at Garth’s or for a valuation of your item(s), please contact or call 740-362-4771.

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