While the tradition of making jewelry out of shells and beads dates to prehistoric times, Native American silver-and-turquoise rings, bracelets, pins and the like are a relatively recent phenomenon, going back only as far as the mid-19th century. Pieces from the 1800s, if you can find them, were usually produced for tribal or religious purposes rather than adornment (the tourist trade came later).
When times got tough, people would take their most expendable personal pieces and pawn them, thus spawning the phrase "old pawn" to describe pre-1900 examples of Native American jewelry made of silver. Although there is a lot of jewelry on the market labeled "old pawn," only pieces from the 1800s deserve that label.
One of the controversial aspects of Native American jewelry is the extent to which non-Native traders influenced its production. These traders frequently coached Native American ...
Silver was the base metal for most of these pieces—squash-blossom necklaces were one of the first styles. For stones, Navajo artisans were the first to use turquoise, which was indigenous to the area but was quickly mined out—the best pieces were labeled with the name of their source mine. It wasn’t long before high-quality turquoise was being imported, while softer, poorer-quality stones were often treated with resin to make them hard.
Other tribes developed their own styles. Shell necklaces and mosaics were a specialty of the Pueblo, particularly members of the Santa Domingo tribe. The Zuni were known for their cluster pieces and use of red coral. And the Hopi produced pins and other objects that suggest textile influences.
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Native American culture celebrated at pow wow in MarksvilleAlexandria Town Talk, May 19th
Fields and her husband have been traveling to sell Native American jewelry since they retired 14 years ago. Having grown up in New Mexico, Fields said she has always loved the culture and jewelry. “I've always worn it — now I sell it,” she said. She...Read more
Stephenson's Antiques & Decorative Arts Auction features jewelry, silver ...Art Daily, May 18th
Many artist-signed Native-American jewelry items will cross the auction block at Stephenson's, including sand-cast pieces from the 1920s. “These designs stand out because they're very weighty, and you can almost see where each piece was molded in the...Read more
UCR: Campus goes native for annual pow wowPress-Enterprise (blog), May 16th
The event typically draws seven to 10 drumming groups and close to 100 traditional dancers. Bird singers are also expected to perform and there will be vendors selling Native American jewelry, arts and crafts. The event runs from 5-10 p.m. Friday, May...Read more
Local shop continues donation to AudubonsShepherdstown Chronicle, May 6th
In addition to crystals, it offers a wide variety of sterling silver and natural stone jewelry; Native American jewelry, books and music; incense; sages, shells and prayer feathers; magical and ceremonial herbs; tools and statuary for practitioners of...Read more
Canon City residents and visitors enjoy Craft Fair in Veterans ParkCanon City Daily Record, May 5th
In the park, Kahuna Trading Company sold a variety of merchandise, including sun dresses, skirts, tops, tunics, Native American jewelry, CDs, purses and more. "I'm a wholesaler," said Rick Reed. "I wholesale them to stores and festivals every year. I...Read more
Worthington May Days will kick off next weekendGreene County Daily World, May 3rd
The festival will feature flea market vendors, a farmer's market, antiques, educational booths, children's games, antiques, Native American jewelry, fresh baked goods, and a petting zoo. In addition, an old-fashion Worthington gristmill will be in...Read more
Conference to Explore Western, Native American Healing PracticesUC Riverside, May 2nd
May 24, and continues on Saturday, May 25, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the UCR Sports Complex, 1000 W. Blaine St. Vendors will sell food, handmade Native American jewelry, arts and crafts, and other merchandise. Admission is free. Parking costs $5...Read more
Take Pride in Ridgefield: A town's teamwork, beautyThe Ridgefield Press, May 2nd
Some of the items for purchase will be: oriental carpets; patio and garden furniture and accessories; period formal, oak, country and modern furniture; textiles; antiques, estate, vintage costume, Bakelite and Native American jewelry; art pottery and...Read more