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A Buyer's Guide to Native American Indian Jewelry from Hopi, Zuni Pueblo, Navajo Tribe, Isleta Pueblo, Santo Domingo Pueblo
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A word of caution:
Many purported "Native American" jewelry sellers are not offering authentic Native American Indian jewelry. They are frauds, selling imports from Asia or copies made in non-Indian factories. They deprive true Native American Indian artists of their heritage and livelihood. Every item offered on Native-American-Jewelry.org is guaranteed to be authentic Native American-made or your money back plus 10%. Thank you for supporting true Native American artistry and culture.

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Native American Indian jewelry case #1

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Questions: Call us at 239-482-7025 or 800-305-0185

A History of Native American Indian jewelry
Native American Indians have been creating jewelry for personal adornment and ceremonial celebrations for generations. Some anthropologists trace the use of turquoise and tooled metal ornaments to pre-history in North America.

As we are concerned primarily with the exquisite high fashion jewelry that is created by today's top Native American silversmiths, goldsmiths and lapidarists, we will concentrate on those aspects of this traditional art.

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Silversmithing is generally believed to have emerged in Native American populations in the 1800s as Navajo Indian artists in particular began to practice it under the influence and tutelage of Spanish settlers. This activity, however, was preceded for centuries by the mining and shaping of gemstones such as turquoise and the harvesting of spiny oyster shell.

This gorgeous Native American Indian necklace is in Case #6

As a result, the Native American Indian turquoise and silver bracelet one buys today has a deep tradition of jewelry making behind it. Added in recent years have been raw materials such as coral, sugilite, lapis, opal, jet, malachite, mother of pearl, charoite and gaspeite. Sterling silver has largely replaced German silver, a nickel alloy. Gold has become more popular, although its increasing expense has limited the number of artists who willing to work with it. Today, even silver has increased in price.

Turquoise in American Indian jewelry
Turquoise clearly is the stone most directly identified with Native American Indian jewelry. Turquoise comes in several grades and types. The finest is rare, gem grade turquoise, which is the first choice for the finest Native American Indian turquoise jewelry. Below that are levels of high quality leading to "good" quality (often "stabilized"), good-to-average, mine run and stock (usually "stabilized") and low quality (almost always "stabilized"). Then there is fake or synthetic turquoise. This last level is used in cheap, costume jewelry that emulates the real thing, even if created by Native American Indian artisans.

"Stabilized" turquoise is turquoise that is too soft and porous to use as a jewelry element. It is submerged in a stabilizing compound, such as epoxy resin, which permeates the natural turquoise and hardens it so that it can be shaped for jewelry use. "Treated" turquoise, on the other hand, is usually submerged in vegetable or animal oil for the specific purpose of giving it luster. Unfortunately, these oils can dissipate quickly, returning the stone to its original dull appearance and often staining skin and clothing.

Turquoise, the stone, versus turquoise, the color.
The two should not be confused. The latter is associated with the most common coloration of the material. But the real turquoise used in Native American Indian jewelry comes in many color variations from soft pastel blue to deep green, and often with extensive matrix (the spider web patterns that suffuse the finest stones).

Other materials include coral, of which deep red is the rarest and most coveted - although delicate pink coral has grown in popularity, lapis lazuli from Asia, sugilite from southern Africa, charoite from Siberia and Gaspeite, originally from the Gaspe' Peninsula in Canada but also found Australia.

Navajo squash blossom necklace

Pueblo jewelry styles.
Various Native American Indian tribes and pueblos are known for particular variations on jewelry design, although there is enough cross-pollination to eliminate hard and fast rules. Zuni Indians are known for very fine inlay and channel work. Navajo Indians are unsurpassed as silver workers. Hopi Indians have a unique variation called overlay, in which a layer of silver is cut to express a pattern and soldered over a base sheet of silver. Santa Domingo Indian jewelry makers are particularly adept at heishi and shell overlay. Of course, bead work plays a major role in Indian jewelry from the Plains and Woodlands. While quite extraordinary at its best, it seldom appears in the high end work of the Southwest.

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Native American Jewelry Bolos

Case 25A Bolos - Three to choose from

Native American Bracelets

Case 5A Calvin Begay Navajo Bracelets Five bracelets plus two watch bands
Case 5B Calvin Begay Navajo Bracelets Five to choose from
Case 5C Calvin Begay Navajo Bracelets One here but it's a beauty
Case 5D Calvin Begay Navajo Bracelets Four beauties here
Case 12 Bracelets
Case 18 Bracelets
Case 20 Bracelets
Case 21 Bracelets
Case 22 Bracelets

Native American Crosses

Native American Crosses Landing Page

Case 26 Cross Pendants
Case 26A Cross Pendants
Case 26B Cross Pendants
Case 27 Cross Pendants
Case 27A Cross Pendants
Case 27B Cross Pendants

Native American Earrings

Case 23 Earrings
Case 23A Earrings
Case 23B Earrings
Case 23C Earrings
Case 23D Earrings
Case 23E Earrings
Case 23F Earrings
Case 23G Earrings
Case 23H Earrings
Case 23J Earrings
Case 23K Earrings
Case 23L Earrings
Case 24 Earrings
Case 24A Earrings
Case 24B Navajo Earrings - Calvin Begay
Case 24C Earrings
Case 24D Earrings
Case 24E Earrings
Case 24F Navajo Earrings - Calvin Begay
Case 24G Navajo Earrings - Calvin Begay
Case 24H Earrings
Case 24J Earrings
Case 24K Earrings
Case 24L Earrings
Case 24M Earrings

Native American Necklaces

Case 2 Necklaces
Case 2A Necklaces
Case 5 Calvin Begay Navajo Necklaces
Case 6 Necklaces
Case 6A Necklaces
Case 6B Santo Domingo Necklaces
Case 6C Navajo Necklaces
Case 8 Necklaces
Case 8A Necklaces
Case 9 Necklaces
Case 9A Fetish Necklaces
Case 10 Necklaces
Case 19 Necklaces
Case 19A Necklaces
Case 25 Necklaces
Case 30 Necklaces
Case 30A Necklaces
Necklace Sets - Case 15
Calvin Begay Necklace Sets - Case 15A

Native American Pendants

Case 1 Pendants
Case 1A Pendants
Case 1B Rick Tolino Pendants
Case 1C Pendants
Case 3 Calvin Begay Navajo Pendants
Case 3A Calvin Begay Navajo Pendants
Case 3B Calvin Begay Navajo Pendants
Case 3C Calvin Begay Navajo Pendants

Case 3D Calvin Begay Navajo Pendants
Case 3E Calvin Begay Navajo Pendants
Case 3F Calvin Begay Navajo Pendants

Case 3G Calvin Begay Navajo Pendants
Case 3H Calvin Begay Navajo Pendants

Case 7 Pendants
Case 7A Pendants
Case 7B Mimbres-style Pendants
Case 7C Earl Plummer Pendants
Case 14 Pendants
Case 14A Pendants
Case 16 Pendants
Case 28A Pendants

Native American Pins

Case 13 Pins
Case 17 Pins

Native American Pin/Pendants

Case 4 Pin/Pendants
Case 4A Hopi Pin/Pendants
Case 11 Pin/Pendants
Case 29 Navajo Calvin Begay Pin/Pendants

Rings

Case 18A Rings

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You are only required to give us your name, email address and telephone number to submit the form. We suggest that you also enter information about the item that interests you. You are not obligated to buy at that point.

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Or call 239-482-7025
or 800-305-0185

Go to Native American Indian jewelry links page Visit our friends and colleagues through our links page.

 

Native American fetish carvings at ZuniLink.

Native American pottery at Native-PotteryLink.

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