Definitely, native American jewelry will always occupy a familiar and distinctive place in the entire arena of jewelry. All of us are already so familiar with those beautiful necklaces and rings made of turquoise and silver which often have intricate and ornate designs. What most of us are probably still not aware of is the huge amount of tradition, symbol and history that is behind the beautiful native American jewelry that we see and have. Up to the present, many of these customs and traditions are still being practived by the native artisans.
Many native American jewelry that we find being sold in the market today is a product of south west America, where turquoise is predominatly being produced now a days.
Turquoise has been unearthed by the archaeologists in recent years and they found out that it has already been widely used as necklakces and earrings since 200 BC. Tribes like the Pueblo and Apache were indigenous before the Navajo, but is was mostly the latter tribe which greatly developed native American jewelry into the art form that it is today.
The tribes of the Pueblo and the Spanish were greatly influential in the designs of the Navajo. Those intricate and ornate Moorish designs and patterns are incorporated into those Navajo interpretations that are definitely elaborate. The pomegranate blossom design that the Spanish is known for was rapidly used by the Navajos. This resulted eventually to the necklace with the squash blossom design.
For the Navajos, they valued the designs and shapes as they were influenced by the Spanish and Moors. But their influences was only limited to the aspect of the visual. The meanings that the Moor cresent and the Spanish pomegranate blossom originally had did not really have too much significance in the Navajo jewelry that resulted.
At up to around 1850, silver smithing slowly entered the world as native American jewelry. Many of the silversmiths from Mexico traded not only silver but also techniques with the Pueblo and Navajo. Thus, silver coins from Mexico became the favorite resource for silver especially in the creation of these items of jewelry. There are more new styles and types of jewelry that were being made and this includes earrings, rings, necklaces, hair ornaments and bracelets. Concho belts which are now famously used are another one of those results between the exchange of cultures.
Pretty soon, native American jewelry were being crafted and spread all over the south western part. The tribes of the Hopi and Zuni soon developed their own distinct slants based on the knowledge that they had. For example, the Zuni are already very skilled with their work on stones and gems and they are able to use silver in a way that the Pueblo and Navajo were not able to achieve.
Nowadays, native American jewelry is an art form that has transcended the names of the individual tribes. Artists from each tribe all try to integrate their own designs, symbols and techniques into an art called native American jewelry.
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