The History Of Native American Jewelry



We all know that beautifying oneself and making use of jewelry has actually been around since prehistoric times. Bead making and bead pendants called heishe, which have originated from the Santo Domingo word for shell, have actually been utilized for ages. Shells like the spiny oyster shell, mother of pearl, abalone, conch and clam have been used in bead making and have actually been thought about essential trade items of the southwest for more than a thousand years.

Using silver in Native American fashion jewelry is not an old concept. It has actually been used since the early 1850s, when the Mexican silversmiths needed to trade their silver trinkets for the livestocks from the Navajo. The Navajo blacksmiths then in turn exchanged their skill of silver making with the Zuni Indians for livestock. The Hopi people then got the art of silver making from the Zuni in the 1890s. It is essential to keep in mind that the Native Americans in no way were related to mining of the silver.

The styles of jewelry used by the Native American Indians:

Each Native American Indian tribe has its own unique style. Do not be confused by precious jewelry that is claimed to be Native American Indian but does not have the Navajo, Zuni, Hopi or Santo Domingo designs. The Zuni Indian precious jewelry includes styles and techniques such as mosaic, cluster, channel inlay, needlepoint and petit point. These strategies include using a variety of stones and shells.

The Navajo Indian jewelry experts are well known for their popular squash blossom lockets. These fashion jewelry artists are known to utilize pieces of blue-green, coral and other semi-precious stones then these are surrounded by scrolls, beads and leaf patterns set in sterling silver. Did you know that the majority of the Native American jewelry produced is made by the Navajos? Their precious jewelry is the most popular due to the fact that they use sterling silver and stones like coral and blue-green.

The overlay method is the distinct design of the Hopi Indian Silversmiths. This is the strategy that is used including the setting stones in fashion jewelry making. One sheet of silver has the design etched out and after that it is soldered or overlaid onto the second sheet. The background is provided a darker touch by means of oxidizing and the leading layer is polished.

Bead fashion jewelry is popular among the Santo Domingo Indians and they have actually been making this kind of precious jewelry for centuries. They utilize seashells, blue-green, jet and coral stones in their fashion jewelry. As pointed out previously, the precious jewelry is all made with sterling silver, which is typically a mix of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. And the reason copper is added to the mix is due to the fact that silver is really soft and the copper gives it more strength to establish different shapes and textures.

Southwest America is a terrific place to discover great Native American Indian precious jewelry. The Navajo tribe remains in Arizona and New Mexico and can be quickly called the biggest Native American Indian reservation. The Hopi tribe is also in Arizona, whereas the Santo Domingo and Zuni Pueblo are in New Mexico.

The skills and art of Native American Indian jewelry making is passed down generations and is rather coveted. Now there are schools that teach these abilities to individuals who wish to find out. Native American Indian Jewelry is a fantastic method to make a bold style declaration.

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