Published on October 19, 2011 by Amy
Native American Indian jewelry has been made for generations. Anthologists have been able to trace some Native American Indian jewelry back to prehistoric times in North America. Native Americans have always taken much pride in the creation of their jewelry.
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Used for both personal decoration and ceremonies, some Native American jewelry is made of silver. The Navajo Indians began as silversmiths in the 1800s. Many believe that they learned this trade from the Spanish settlers who were eager to teach them. But, before they began using silver, the gemstone of choice for Native American Indian jewelry was turquoise. Oyster shells were also used in the past to create decorative jewelry. Recently, Native American Indians began using other gemstones such as opal, charoite, coral, and lapis. Gold is becoming more popular for Native American Indian jewelry, but turquoise is the gemstone that is synonymous with Indian jewelry.
There are different grade of turquoise. The finest turquoise is very rare. It is known as gem grade turquoise. It is easier to find the next grades – good, good to average, mine run, stock, and low quality. Synthetic turquoise, which is not true turquoise gemstone, is also made for jewelry.
Different Native American tribes are known for different jewelry design, although over the years, many tribes have borrowed designs from other tribes. If you are looking for fine inlay and channel work, the Zuni tribe is best known for that type of design. The Hopi specialize in jewelry that is called overlay. Navajos, probably because they were the first and have more experience with it, are known as silversmiths. Indians of the Plains and Woodlands of the United States are known for their exquisite beadwork.
Native American Indian jewelry is a great addition to any jewelry collection. The various designs insure that there is something for everyone.