Fred Harvey Jewelry

The name Fred Harvey is a quite famous one in the history of Southwestern Indian jewelry and is highly sought after by collectors.  “Fred Harvey Era" jewelry is a genre of lightweight jewelry that was designed and made by Native American tribes to sell to the Anglo tourists along Santa Fe railroad lines in hotels and retail shops run primarily by the Fred Harvey Company.  Items were crafted to appeal to Anglo women in the east who preferred lighter weight and more delicate bracelets than Navajo women wore.  

Fred Harvey Era jewelry is sometimes mistakenly referred to as "old pawn" jewelry and placed within that category for dating purposes. However, the reality is that the trading posts who catered to the Navajo would not put the Fred Harvey style jewelry in their cases as the Navajo didn’t care for it. Consequently, most of the Fred Harvey jewelry was made and sold to tourists and was not actually pawned.

Anglos started driving automobiles through the territory in the 1930s when reservations were still heavy with old pawn jewelry.  Museums and collectors began to see the need to build collections of old pawn as this unique jewelry supply  started depleting.  To add to their collections, they bought Fred Harvey style jewelry.  This was a win-win for the trader, as a Harvey piece sold to a tourist brought in money to the trading post, yet he was able to keep favor with his local Navajos by not selling the dead pawn that was yet to be claimed.  Over time the Navajo began to appreciate the lighter weight, shiny Fred Harvey Era jewelry and incorporated it into their lives - although the heavy “Old Pawn” would always remain the prize.

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