J1603 Morenci & Lapis Beads
Alternating hand cut Morenci and lapis beads by master lapidary Bruce Eckhardt. The beads are 19” with hand cut (signature) lapis beads at each end.
One of the most famous and well known American Turquoise mines is the Morenci Turquoise mine form Southern Arizona. This mine was a major producer of natural gemstones that were used commercially for years in predominately Southwestern and Native American Jewelry. The Morenci Turquoise mine was famous for its beautiful true blue Turquoise. Most of the material from this famous mine was a true blue. The mine is also famous for its beautiful Pyrite matrix which is one of the finger prints of the mine. Nothing is more beautiful than sky blue Turquoise with silver colored iron pyrite matrix, or the rare golden pyrite matrix in natural Morenci Turquoise. The mine produce a wide variety of Turquoise from clear sky blue to pyrite matrix material to spider web to aqua blue green stones. Throughout the years gems from this mine were a stable in American Indian Jewelry made by all tribes including Navajo Jewelry, Zuni Jewelry and more. When look at old pawn or vintage Turquoise jewelry you will find a ton of beautiful natural Morenci Turquoise. Today this beautiful classic Turquoise is hard to find. The mine has been closed for many, many, many years. Ultra high-grade material from this mine as with most mines was always scarce, and today is more rare than hen’s teeth.
About the artist
Bruce Eckhardt was raised in Arizona and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His jewelry has been shown in the Southwest, and across the United States, as well as in collections in Europe, and Asia for over 30 years. He creates unmistakable jewelry and is known as a consummate lapidary artist, jewelry artist, and all around rock-hound.
One look at Bruce Eckhardt’s jewelry and you’d think he was born making beads. Yet for Bruce Eckhardt, his career in jewelry-making came about by way of his passion for painting.
Eckhardt studied with a Navajo painter at Prescott College in the early 70’s who created a student exchange program with the American Institute of Indian Arts IAIA in Santa Fe. As part of his student exchange, Eckhardt worked in the studio/classroom of Allan Houser – the well-known stone sculptor. During this time Eckhardt realized he loved the feel of stone—the density, resilience, and sense of eternity in the material, yet he still loved the bright colors of the paint he was used to working with.
Those stones of bright, vivid colors turned out to be gemstones. Over the years many other teachers including Charles Lavato from Santa Domingo Pueblo inspired Eckhardt; and taught Bruce how to roll beads. With the help of his talented teachers, Eckhardt developed and honed his own unique talent and signature style. He strives in his jewelry “to paint” with stone by capturing color and volume. It has been an evolution of many years work but ART is often like that, he says; “It becomes itself, in spite of itself.”
Today, Bruce Eckhardt’s jewelry is a marriage of his love for the feel of stone and bright colors in his paintings. Eckhardt chooses rare, high-grade stones to create his stunning pieces, which highlight the inherent beauty of the materials he uses while offering customers a piece that feels utterly close to nature. He uses only the highest quality stones in his jewelry, and has an amazing eye for style and jewelry design.
Eckhardt states: “Bigger beads create a stunning look.”
As a premier lapidary artist Eckhardt also has collaborated with other artists both local and world-wide. His work is analyzed and even critiqued as having been inspired byjewelryfrom the Merovingian era (or the 5th century AD). Always striving of a unique visual effect he alternates between maximizing the yield of each slab of stone to using the stone for the maximum visual effect.
His work has been collected by Rock Stars and Celebrities including; Madonna, Louis Malle, Candice Bergen, Jonnie Mitchell, Jenny Craig, ZZ Top and Santana.