Talkin’ Hallmarks: Remembering Tommy Singer

We were saddened to hear of the recent death of legendary Navajo silversmith Tommy Singer. Although he is often credited as being the inventor of chip-inlay jewelry, he developed many other signature styles over the years and was prolific and successful in his chosen career. Those who knew him said he was a friendly and generous man.

singerphoto

TOMMY SINGER (Photo courtesy tommysingerjewelry.com)

Tommy Singer Eagle Buckle

Tommy Singer Eagle Buckle

Tommy Singer Storyteller buckle

Tommy Singer Storyteller Buckle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You will be seeing his pieces go up in value – the prices will settle a little in time, but some dealers may be inflating prices over what should be considered reasonable.  What is also bound to happen is that misinformed or unscrupulous sellers may be offering items for sale that are not Tommy’s.  I recently saw a large pendant listed at an online auction that looked nothing like Tommy’s work and was unsigned, yet the seller had it listed as a “Tommy Singer” piece.  It’s entirely possible that an artist may forget to sign a piece, but Tommy was unusually thorough, even adding small separate tabs of brass or silver to identify beads he’d made.  More telling, the pendant did not look remotely like any of the signature styles that I’ve seen Tommy Singer make.  It looked more to me like the work of a Navajo artist named Emma Linkin.  She’s a fine artist, one of my favorites, but her work should not be sold as Tommy Singer’s.

These are by Navajo artist Emma Linkin - look at the similarities to the pendant on the left.

These pieces are by Navajo artist Emma Linkin – look at the similarities to the pendant on the left, such as the appliqued scallops, punched drops, and finely twisted wire roping.

This piece was listed as an unsigned Tommy Singer necklace.

This piece was listed at an online auction as an unsigned Tommy Singer piece.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In conclusion, use common sense. Try my technique of looking at the hallmark AND the style, and you’re sure to find a beautiful piece of Tommy Singer jewelry that you’ll be comfortable buying and enjoy wearing.  Please let us know if you have any questions regarding Tommy Singer jewelry. We do have some pieces of his in our store available for sale, as well as listed on eBay.  Rest assured that we will not be raising the prices higher than we’d originally set them.

A few examples of Tommy Singer’s hallmarks:

 

An example of Tommy Singers hallmark 1 An example of Tommy Singers hallmark 2 An example of Tommy Singers hallmark 3 An example of Tommy Singers hallmark 4

 

 

by oldtownjewels

5 thoughts on “Talkin’ Hallmarks: Remembering Tommy Singer

  1. roma braun-eiseman says:

    I have a silver cuff bracelet that was a gift in the early 1970’s. the friend said it is a Tommy Singer. it is very heavy, with chip coral and turquoise inlay of a deer and foliage, a crescent moon and a ? star or sun. The only marking on the inside is a small what appears to be an arrowhead . It looks exactly like all of the delicate work that I have seen of Mr Singers work.
    We were out west years ago , and visiting a museum, and teh gentle man commented that my bracelet belonged in a museum. My question is did Tommy sometimes not sign his work , but use this small arrowhead mark?

  2. Tamara says:

    I have a woman’s cuff bracelet. With Kokopeli and a few other images perhaps a bear paw and another figure. In sterling with the figures in reverse relief in black. The hallmark reads TS then sterling at an angle just touching the letters. I can send photos.

  3. Barbara Weldon says:

    Thank you for your lovely words about Tommy Singer. He has long been a favorite silversmith of mine thru the years, and I’m sorry he went too soon. Could you direct me to a location online, that has an example of ALL of his signature marks that he has used over the years? I’m seeing so many different symbols and signings of his, and I don’t recognize some of them. Thank you very much. I have pieces with the T Singer, T , T C initials, but I’ve seen others I don’t know are his.
    Barbara in Tucson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.