Being trendy and fashionable is the need when choosing jewelry and there are many modern and ancient traditional choices of ornaments are out there in stores now. Native American jewelry is ancient in its original, but it has remained as one of the popular choices of all times. Appealing to a large number of fan-following all across the globe, Native American jewelry is the favorite of the celebrities too.
We can see that in the last decade, Native American jewelry has gained large popularity than ever. Not just celebrities, but even common people find it as an ideal gifting item on Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, and other special occasions. In this article, we will try to explore the history of Native American jewelry, which will be giving a better insight to the buyers about it before you try to buy.
Native American jewelry – Origin
You find the roots of Native American jewelry in the southwestern and western states of the United States, in which area there was a rich tradition of incredible jewelry making from almost everything they naturally explored. They used to carve ornaments from wood, stones, bones, and the seashells, which were carved into beautiful pieces of jewelry to be worn to decorate themselves. The historians have found out many of these ancient pieces of these breathtaking and amazing works of art displayed in museums across the country.
As of the historical records, the first occurrence of standard Native American jewelry was found around the decade of the 1850s. By the year 1868, the ancient Navajos were less mobile and started sharing their skills by producing something unique. A historical manuscript says the story of a Navajo blacksmith who was named ‘Atsidi Sani’ who was considered to be the inventor of the Native American jewelry culture. He experimented with jewelry making with available metals like copper and brass making many models of necklaces, bracelets, coins, etc. It was Sani who taught these techniques to other Navajos, which was then widespread and throughout 1880, it was Navajo’s who started using silver and the turquoise for jewelry making in their own traditional designs.
Turquoise featuring a timeless appeal
Turquoise was the most popular stones used from ancient times onwards in classic Native American jewelry. This is most often fixed in silver and made in the form of earrings, necklaces, rings, and bracelets, etc. It was noted that the use of turquoise had mostly been in Southwest America since the prehistoric ages. The usage of turquoise in various forms of jewelry has more than 1000 years of tradition. Anasazi used turquoise and seashells to make necklaces and bracelets. These were also used as earrings and to decorate the effigies. Usage of turquoise is still popular among the cash for gold NYC at the Southwestern jewelry markets too.
The advent of machine cut jewelry
Around the year 1900, it was Fred Harvey Company which started to supply various jewelry making materials for mass production. They supplied sheet metal and also polished turquoise. Soon after this period, the Harvey and Company started making various models of Native American jewelry which were machine made.
Most of these traditional machine-made pieces of jewelry were sold to the outsiders visiting the country and also to the tourists who were enthusiastic about collectible items. The common jewelry designs in the machine-made category included lightning bolts, thunderbirds, arrows, and bows, etc. The popularity of machine jewelry grew over time, and the artisans too started imitating the machine-made jewelry designs and started creating Native American-style of bracelets, necklaces, and rings. Another big thing happened was that the machine-made jewelry came much cheaper even though of lower quality than authentic handmade pieces.
After the first decade of the 1900s, the tools, dyes, and methodology used to make jewelry improved and mass industrial production of jewelry was made possible. As a result of the mechanical evolution happened in every sector during this time, the sales of hand-made jewelry started to shrink.
Things to know while buying Native American jewelry
If you are looking forward to buying authentic Native American jewelry, there are a few things to consider to make sure that you get the most authentic pieces. For many, it is a hobby to collect such jewelry items as necklaces, rings, bracelets, and earring, etc. To do it well, you should collect the proof that the ornament you are interested in is genuine, authentic, and made by Native American Indian makers. In many US states like New Mexico, it is also illegal to sell and buy Indian made jewelry which is not actually made by Native Americans.
You should know that the silver jewelry which is made by Native American will be undersigned or marked for authenticity. You can ask the seller for the proof of authenticity on the piece of jewelry you try to buy. If the seller is not giving the authenticity certificate, it is better to stay away from such deals.
On trying to buy turquoise, one should consider the difference between untreated and treated turquoise. The treated pieces will be dyed or coated for add-on strength and also to add color. Some may consider that the treated turquoise may be of lesser quality compared to untreated. However, the fact is that the treated turquoise may be stronger than untreated. Untreated turquoise may be much porous and also may have some imperfections.
Where to find Native American jewelry?
The Internet is the best place to search for the source of Native American jewelry. However, make sure that you take your time and put in a keen research effort to identify the best options. There are plenty of genuine as well as fraud sellers online from which you have to filter out the most authentic deals.
Websites which offer a lot of quality and detailed information may be more genuine. You can check details of the vintage dates, the origin of the ornament, maker, dimensions of the product, pricing, and can also view multiple images of various angles.