Native American Indian silver jewelry is often made with turquoise, known as hydrous copper aluminum phosphate. It is part of the religion of most native North American Indians. Turquoise is found close to the earth’s surface and that is how it was discovered for use with Native American Indian Silver Jewelry. It was mined in Santa Fe, New Mexico for over 2,000 years.
About Native American Indian Silver Jewelry
The tradition of using silver and turquoise began around 1850 with the Najavo tribe. Later, the Hopi and Zuni tribes, joined in. The jewelery was made just for tribe members to use and enjoy until the early 1900’s. Eventually they made jewelry to sell, which was different from what they made for themselves. They used thin silver and turquoise of less quality. This was the Native American silver jewelry made for the tourist trade.
During 1870 to 1900, Navajo silversmiths learned to stamp ornaments from Mexican leather workers. Often they learned to craft silver from silversmith in the tribe.In the 1800’s, a man named J. L. Hubbell hired Mexican silversmiths to teach Navajos to make Native American Indian silver jewelry.
More mines for turquoise were opened as the demand for the Native American Indian silver jewelry increased. With more material and better tools, they were able to supply the tourist trade and traders with quality jewelry. Early works in the 1870’s are plain silver with simple designs. Many designs are taken from horse gear and male dress ornamentation. Later, Native American Indian Silver Jewelry had more clusters of turquoise stones.
Many Navajos were known for making their own creative die stamping for decorative effects. This gave each Native American Indian Silver Jewelry a custom look. The Zuni tribe has a gift for lapidary work. In early days they worked with other tribes to make Native American Indian Silver jewelry. One tribe made the silver piece while the Zuni tribe set the stones for the piece. They learned turquoise grinding and shaping to make Native American Indian Silver jewelry.
Silver Jewelry was also made by the Hopi tribe located in northern Arizona. Most of their jewelry is done in overlay style. Early silversmiths used primitive tools made of scraps of iron and steel. Often silver coins were melted to get silver for their jewelry. The silver was then shaped into a simple form and pounded into a thin sheet. Then cut and pounded into shape for the jewelry.
The Native American Indian Silver Jewelry was buffed with sand and ashes. Sometimes, it was cast in sandstone or wood. The early jewelry was simple and rough. Learning to solder made Native American Indian Silver Jewelry more ornate and decorative. Native American Silver Jewelry is beautiful and ornate. You will find wide a variety of necklaces and bracelets made in the Native American Silver Jewelry style.