Battery Birds

Jun 26, 2021


Here is a fantastic example of reusing, recycling and sustainability before it was "cool". 

These folksy necklace and earring sets are "Battery Birds" Southwestern Native American (usually Santo Domingo) work done in the depression of the 1930s when Precious metals were confiscated by the government. Gold was the focus, but availability of silver was also impacted.

Battery bird jewelry was turquoise mosaic done on plastic. It could be vinyl records, celluloid vanity items as well as household goods in plastic. A favorite was the plastic cases of car batteries which is where the nickname originated for these lovely pieces. The mosaic work was created on a strong backing of battery casing plastic that has proven through the years to be strong and stable. Beads were made of shell and also plastic. 

I have seen old yellowed glue as well as tree pitch used to hold these pieces together. Not only birds were done. I have also seen bells. I would LOVE to find a horse....if one exists.

These pieces are amazing mixed media folk of repurposed salvage goods such as collected turquoise, plastic, shell, animal bone and reused beads.

And yes, they are truly a Great find!
NFS. This is my collection that I am sharing. ❤️

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