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Trading Post Times

Page 2

T

HE

H

ARVEY

E

RA

J

EWELRY AT

R

IVER

T

RADING

P

OST

The manufacturers of the lightweight souvenir jewelry were located in Colorado, New Mexico,

Kansas City and even New York. The ‘smiths who worked for these companies were given piec-

es to assemble and finish according to prescribed patterns and designs. The symbols used were

“made up” Indian symbols, inspired by the southwestern Native culture, and designed to increase

the mystique and romance of the travel experience and its associated souvenirs. Once the jewelry

was manufactured, the Harvey Company hired local Indians to sell it on the trains, in their shops

and restaurants, and on the famed “Indian Detours” – side trips by “Curiercoach” to visit various

Pueblos along the train route.

Countless pieces of jewelry were produced during the rail-

road era that were exotic and affordable to the Anglo tour-

ist trade. Bracelets, pins, necklaces, and various other tchotchkes, or baubles, were snapped up,

and an entire industry thrived on the romance created by the marketing of the Fred Harvey

Company.

Many people are avid collectors of the old railroad era jewelry. One such collector had accu-

mulated over 1,000 pieces of the great old souvenir pieces. Literally boxes of old jewelry, wor-

thy of any museum collection, came our way one day. As we began to go through the boxes,

cataloging and admiring, we reminisced about our own journeys — back when the world was a

little bit slower and there was plenty of time to dream.

The entire Harvey era collection is on display at River Trading Post, Scottsdale.

Select items are available on our River Trading Post website.

The gracious dining car of the

Santa Fe railroad El Capitan

Fred Harvey Indian Detour

Harvey Car

Oil by Dennis Ziemienski

“Pill Boxes “

perhaps are the most unusual items in the River Trading Post collec-

tion. The Anglo tourist figured that the only use for these was a place to stash their

pills or snuff. Fact of the matter is that these beautiful containers were actually

intended to carry and sprinkle pollen used in the morning prayers of a Navajo

person while welcoming a new day.

Rings

were a hot seller. They were affordable, and something the tourists took

home with them as a remembrance of their visit to the “Wild West where real

Indians live.”

Pins and broaches

were very popular back then too.

...and then there were the

tchotchkes

for those who wanted a little something

different.

Continued from Page 1

Bracelets

were the most popular back then, and today over 400 of them have

found their way into our collection. In this collection, we have found every-

thing from hand-made to assembled, from copper to ingot silver, and reconsti-

tuted turquoise to natural old stone.

Old luggage tags

were frequently worn as pendants. Few people know about

these old pieces, and they are pretty rare. These little pieces have been adapted in

recent times to be used as pendants on a silver chain.

Fred Harvey jewelry, Indian jewelry, Railroad jewelry or Souvenir jewelry. No matter what you call

it, it is one of the finest collectables today as a touchstone to another era in our history. Come see it in

Scottsdale or on our website.