Santa Fe police have responded to at least six reports of high-end jewelry theft at the Santa Fe Indian Market, several of the pieces were worth thousands of dollars. The Indian Market — lauded as the world’s largest juried Indian art market in the world — took place August 17th and 18th.
A 46-year-old artisan Jerry Gaussoin, Navajo and Picuris Pueblo, told the Santa Fe New Mexicanthat he took a 20-minute break from his booth, leaving his brother and 12-year-old daughter to watch. When he returned, he says his daughter had seen two women in their 50s wearing dark glasses, black dresses and flat-brimmed black felt hats, walk up to the booth, try on a gold and turquoise bracelet and put it into their purse.
Gaussion’s daughter Kehascah said to the New Mexican, “I was panicking and I didn’t know what to do… I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, what am I going to tell my dad?’ ”
Gaussoin said that he and his daughter walked around the market trying to locate the women, but were not successful. According to the police report, the 14-carat gold, double-chain bracelet with turquoise was valued at $1,500.
Gaussion says his perspective has now changed. He has always kept his jewelry on display so that interested buyers could engage with the jewelry. Now his is looking into encasing his jewelry and getting a security camera.
“I would’ve never have thought of doing something like this,” said Gaussion. “But now maybe I will.”
Elizabeth Kirk, Navajo and Isleta Pueblo, the chair of the board for the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts, says someone stole a ring from her booth Saturday afternoon. Having sold at the Indian Market for four years, she has never had anything stolen before.
Saturday Kirk noticed the $450 silver ring with sugilite stones was missing. Courtesy
Kirk says things get so busy, it is hard to notice everything, but there isn’t much she can do as theft is often a concern for artists.
Estella Loretto, Jemez Pueblo, says she also saw two women come to her booth to look at a pendant and bracelet. Loretto — who values the bracelet with star designs and diamonds at $4,800 and her silver and turquoise starburst pendant at $2,100 — turned to help another customer and when she looked back, the women and the jewelry was gone.
Santa Fe police spokesman Greg Gurulé said the police department had five police officers and two animal control officers stationed at Indian Market on Saturday. According to a police report, there was no known suspect, witness, evidence or surveillance.
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