Native American Indian Jewelry and Its Rich History
Native American Indian Jewelry has a rich history that dates back to 8800 BCE when the Paleo-Indians from America’s Southwest began to shape and drill shells and beads into pendants and other Native American Jewelry. Artifacts of American Indian Jewelry were found in Nevada, and were fashioned out of antler, bone, and marine shell beads. Native American Indian Jewelry made from copper was traded as far back as 7000 BCE in Lake Superior, Michigan.
Each tribe had its own American Indian Jewelry. The Apache women and men wore Native American Indian Jewelry like bracelets, earrings, and necklaces made from strung turquoise and shell beads. Some Native Jewelry worn by the Apaches was fashioned out of silver with inlays of turquoise. Apache jewelry is made from silver or brass. These days Apache jewelers will use almost any color combination, but favor red and yellow, black and white and dark and pale blue combinations to create Native American Indian Jewelry.
Up until the 1930s and early 1940s, most Hopi Jewelry was made out of stone and shell as silver was hard to come by. After the Second World War, Hopi war veterans learned how to cut grind and polish silver creating the Hopi Jewelry designs that are still popular today. Those students taught their fellow tribesmen who stylized Native American Indian Jewelry designs from baskets and pottery. The Hopi Silvercraft Cooperative Guild was created during this time and continues to make Jewelry in the same tradition.
Native American Indian Jewelry from the Navajo tribes began in the mid 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century when, “Old Smith,” whose real name was Atisidi Sani became the first Navajo blacksmith. Sani worked with a Mexican silversmith who showed him how to make Native Jewelry, bridles, buckles, tobacco canteens, and conchas. The early Navajo silversmiths would take ordinary silver from flatware and coins and melt it down to make Native American Indian Jewelry.
Turquoise and Navajo Jewelry go hand in hand, but it was not until about 1880, that turquoise was set into Native Jewelry. One of the most well-known pieces of Native American Indian Jewelry from the Navajo tribe is the Squash Blossom Necklace. These Navajo necklaces are made from plain silver beads that are strung with stylized beads known as squash blossoms, which have a, “Naja,” or pendant that hangs from the middle of the necklace.
Of course, the Pueblos, and Zuni along with hundreds of other tribes across the United States and Canada have become known for designing stunning Native American Jewelry.