Native American Jewelry
Native American jewelry has held the world spellbound for centuries. The earliest settlers were immediately won over by the exquisite beadwork and jewelry of the Native Americans they met. Even today, Native American jewelry has remained a steady, hot commodity, both in the high-level markets as well as in ordinary shopping malls. This shows the vast appeal that Native American jewelry holds over all sections of society.
Native American jewelry is unique in that each tribe initially had its own special designs, some of which were associated with particular rituals or symbols. For those who are serious about buying authentic Native American jewelry, it is important to do some research beforehand and ensure you are buying from an authentic Native American designer.
From Copper to Bone
Most people associate Native American jewelry with beadwork but that just forms a small portion of their jewelry. A number of precious stones, silver, copper and gold were also used in jewelry making. After colonization, their metalwork in particular grew to be more refined and advanced, as they used Spanish silver-smithing techniques and began to do extensive and intricate engraving.
Native American jewelry was often made using materials that were readily available, such as bone, ivory, wood and stone. These were often carved or set with beads or gemstones. Turquoise is found in many Native American jewelry pieces, particularly from the Navajo community. Other gemstones were used as well, particularly with metalwork pieces.
Beads play an important role in Native American jewelry as they were used in rituals as well. Beads were used to create bracelets and necklaces and Porcupine Quillwork with beads were exceptionally striking, though they are rare to find today. Today, apart from the new designs that are brought out by different Native American communities, a number of collectors trade in Dead Pawn Jewelry, which are antique pieces pawned by poverty stricken Native Americans who were unable to reclaim them.