Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Flea at the Downs

I couldn't wait to get back to the flea market we had visited last winter during our stay in Santa Fe. During the Spring and Summer months, the market moves to the Downs, an old horse racing track on the outskirts of the city.

Eric and I arrived at the market around 9:30 a.m. The first booth we saw was one that sells Native American jewelry. I am always on the look out for pieces of jewelry to add to my collection. My favorite pieces are Petit Point turquoise stone settings that are primarily crafted by the Zuni jewelers.

Sam manages this booth, and she told us the history of her collection. She and her Native American husband, who is now deceased, formed a cooperative of artisans on several reservations. The couple would bring jewelry to the flea markets and turn the money from sales back into the cooperative.

 There is a high prevalence of diabetes among Native Americans. Over the years, Sam has seen many of the artisans lose their eye sight as a result of the disease. Sam said that fewer young people are willing to learn the craft of jewelry making from their elders.

I chose a silver bracelet with coral stones in a beautiful, floral like setting. I am mindful of the fact that perhaps one day, this type of jewelry making will sadly become a lost art.

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