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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.
go directly to the contact page or order form, click this button
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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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the form. We suggest that you also enter information about the item
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that it will only be seen by us. We will contact you as soon as we
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