Tahe, Navajo - Native American Jewelry

The Tahe name (Navajo - Arizona, USA) has several different identifiable styles associated with it and more are appearing over time.  Jewelry created in this name may or may be created by people related to one another.

The best known style is very recognizable. They buy various types and gauges of wire and metal sheeting and work them into their final products.  

The results are typically very clean, and well executed.  They mostly use silver but,  once upon a time, Franklin and Verna did some gold fill work.  I still own some of these that are new old stock in both bracelets and earrings.

The gold work seemed to stop when metal prices sky-rocketed about the time of the Great Recession in 2008-2009.  Like many artists they started doing copper and mixed silver/copper work when silver became too expensive.  I have seen recent copper work.  It would not be surprising if you were to run across examples of any of the above under one or more different "signatures".

The style is popular with men and women alike; Robert Redford wore one of their bracelets in the movie "The Horse Whisperer".  Scroll down and you will find this as currently made by Elaine Tahe. 

There are quite a few people whose work I see with some frequency signing under the Tahe name (I have listed them below).  There probably are more but these are the ones with whom I am at least passingly familiar.  

As previously mentioned, I'm not clear about the familial relationship(s) of all these folks, if any.  Verna and Franklin are a married couple and, I suspect, the eldest listed here.  According to G. Schaaf, Jewelry III: M-Z Published 2013, Verna was born in 1953).  Schaaf does not mention any of the other Tahes but that doesn't really mean anything, there are a huge number of artists not included in his books.

Artie Yellowhorse's grandmother, Anna, was a weaver named Tahy.  I have tried, without success, to pry out of Artie if there is any relationship to any of the "Tahe" jewelers. She isn't trying to hide anything, it's probably because she doesn't know and, clearly, I'm much more interested than she is.  Some of her plain silver work bracelets bear at least a passing resemblance to some of this work.  That said, it doesn't mean there is any connection what-so-ever as some of these designs are derivative of even earlier works.

My Franklin & Verna stock is "new old stock" that was purchased from a trader that was closing out their longstanding wholesale jewelry operation. I have about 50 bracelets (some are duplicates) and 40 separate designs of earrings (I have a lot of dups in some of these too).  The construction of the pieces is heavier (more silver and gold) than is being used now because both were considerably cheaper at that time. Some things are signed, some aren't (often the bracelets are but not the earrings.) Most of the bracelets I have were made by Verna and/or Franklin. I suspect mine are late 1990's to early 2000's.

 I do have some current pieces by the husband and wife team of Elaine and Benny Tahe, where they may fit on any family tree is a mystery to me. Elaine seems to be doing the bulk of the current work resembling what Franklin & Verna used to do.

Other work can also be found by Nora Tahe & her husband, Emerson Bill.  Apparently much of the work they do is quite different than the most recognizable Tahe style and originated with Emerson, who taught Nora.

I have work by Gerald/Jerald Tahe who, reputably, is the son of Nora and Emerson but that is currently single-sourced.  He does work similar to his parents but, the work I have, more closely resembles that of Michael Tahe.

You will also see a completely new style here being created by Leander Tahe. Rhonda Tahe is Leander's wife, you can see sometimes see her work here.

Other than what I have stated above, I have no further information, at this time,  of how they may be related.

I have a customer and new friend in Australia who has over 60 vintage Tahe bracelets. She has scoured the web, rescuing many older bracelets from meltdown. Tahes from the 1970's? (not sure of exact timing) weigh in at nearly double the weight of my pieces.  The pieces I have weigh in at about 1/3rd more than most of the more recent work I have seen.

In any case the end result is unfailingly one of my most popular lines of jewelry. Their work is admired, in demand, and purchased by every ethnic and income group. As the new/old stock depletes I will likely add in the more recent work.  

I still have a lot to post. 

I apologize if you are more confused than when you started but, that is the way it is!

If anyone out there has more specific and accurate info they are willing to share, I would be thrilled to have it so I'm not leading anyone down the primrose path. I periodically update information as I learn something new.

Last update: March 27, 2021