This bracelet is from a load of clothing and jewelry that came out of a South Philadelphia home. My Mom actually claimed this as hers, and it's been squirreled away for about 10 years. Don't ask - it won't be for sale, my Mom likes it too much to sell it. Somewhere there are earrings that go with it too.
I'll admit that I don't know much about vintage jewelry. I usually only handle average pieces. I believe that this piece is ivory, maybe bone. It's a stretch bracelet with carved figures of a polar bear, whale, seal, walrus, and a Fox or wolf. I'm guessing it from the 1940s.
It is signed 'Raleigh Ozenna Little Diomede'
Check out the info on Little Diomede - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Diomede
- It's this tiny Alaskan island with a population of less than 200. Little Diomede Island is US territory and Big Diomede Island is Russian. Families living on the opposite island weren't allowed to visit each other during the cold war. There is only one small town on Little Diomede and since the island has a high flat top and very steep sides, the town is built down near the coast of the island.
The only access to the island is by sea or helicopter. Sounds like they didn't have electricity until the 1970s. There is no sewerage and their running water is very limited. The Eskimos made a living by hunting and carving ivory and then selling or trading the skins and carvings in Nome.
So not only is it a really cool looking piece, it has a very interesting background.
Little Diomede in the 1920s, and in 2001
Bye for now, Carol