Wil Vandever was a highly collected Navajo jeweler, known best for his detailed silverwork and use of high-quality stones.
He learned to be a jeweler when he married his wife, Cora, and went on to win many awards for his work. In the 1970s he had his own shop but abandoned the retail business to spend more time working on his jewelry. One of his biggest markets was Japan, where buyers of top-quality turquoise found his designs and the quality of his work appealing.
Vandever was one of 17 children and did not have an easy childhood. He attributed his happiness later in life to his wife and family. After more than two years of fighting the disease, he died of colon cancer.
We recently received this pendant which was the private property of Harold Tregent, the owner of the Glen Comfort Store outside of Estes Park, Colorado. Tregent and his partner Van were known for carrying and collecting, the finest in quality Indian arts, particularly jewelry, Navajo weavings, and pottery.
This piece is set with an outstanding piece of #8 turquoise that comes from near Tonopah, Nevada. Its soft blue and spiderweb patterns are distinctive and it is one of the rarest and most unique turquoises in America.
The pendant is made with 14-carat gold and is on a gold chain.
It is an excellent example of Vandever’s work and a tribute to the incredible taste of Harold and Van.