Native American Art --> Native American Jewelry
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Jewelry styles were different in every American Indian tribe, but the differences were less marked than with other arts and crafts,
because jewelry and the materials used for making it (beads, shells, copper and silver, ivory, amber, turquoise and other stones)
were major trade items long before European arrival in America. After colonization, Native American jewelry-making traditions
remained strong, incorporating, rather than being replaced by, new materials and techniques such as glass beads and more advanced
metalworking techniques. There are two very general categories of Native American jewelry: metalwork, and beadwork. Before Europeans
came native metalwork was fairly simple, consisting primarily of hammering and etching copper into pendants or earrings and
fashioning copper and silver into beads. After Navajo, Hopi and Pueblo artists learned silversmithing from the Spanish in the 1800's,
metal jewelry arts blossomed in the
Southwest, and distinctive native jewelry like the squash blossom necklace,
Hopi silver overlay bracelets, and Navajo turquoise inlay rings
developed from the fusion of the new techniques with traditional designs. Native beadwork, on the other hand, was already extremely
advanced in pre-Columbian times, including the fine grinding of turquoise, coral, and shell beads into smooth heishi necklaces, the delicate
carving of individual wood and bone beads, the soaking and piecing of porcupine quills, and the intricate stitching of thousands of beads
together. Porcupine quillwork has nearly died out (though some young artists are taking a renewed interest in it) but all of these other
forms of beadwork are still going strong, though imported Czech seed beads have been the favored medium among many Indian artists for
centuries now. You can see our Native American beadwork page for more
information and pictures about different beading arts.
If you are looking to buy jewelry that was actually made by Native Americans--either because it's important to you to have the real thing or because you want to support native people with your purchase--then here is our list of American Indian artists whose jewelry is available online. If you have a website of native jewelry to add to this list, let us know. We gladly advertise any individual native artist or native-owned art store here free of charge, provided that all jewelry is made by tribally recognized American Indian, Inuit, or First Nations artists.
Thank you for your interest in Native American art!
A gorgeous selection of silver jewelry by a Taos Pueblo artist. He makes custom pieces to order, too, so if you want something truly one-of-a-kind, send them a query email.
Silver and beadwork jewelry in a wide variety of Southwest Indian styles, sold by a Navajo tribal art enterprise.
Me'Dru Galleria (Zachanee)|
These Navajo, Hopi, and Pueblo artists are making stunning Southwest American Indian jewelry in traditional and modern styles.
Tribe Azure Jewelry|
Innovative contemporary jewelry by a young Navajo artist using his people's traditional silver and stone inlay techniques.
Beautiful turquoise and silver Indian jewelry by a Navajo artist.
Navajo Works Jewelry|
Multi-strand necklaces, silver and beadwork from a Navajo family craft shop.
Native American Traditions|
Handcrafted silver overlay jewelry by Hopi, Navajo, and other Southwest Indian artists.
Modernist American Indian jewelry by another talented Navajo artist.
Squash blossom necklaces and other handmade Southwest Indian jewelry from a Laguna Pueblo artist.
British Columbia Native Jewelry|
Dramatic Coast Salish and Kwakiutl designs carved into silver and gold by Northwest Indian artist Gilbert Pat. This is just about the most beautiful jewelry I've ever seen anywhere.
Dial Trading Company|
This Lumbee Indian family makes jewelry out of purple and white quahog shell--the same material traditionally used for wampum beads.
Ron Striegel Silver and Turquoise Jewelry|
Traditional heavy silver bracelets and belt buckles by a Potawatomi silversmith.
Bone and Bead Jewelry|
Beautiful Plains Indian jewelry by two Blackfeet beaders. They make other Blackfoot regalia like bone hairpipe breastplates, too.
Contemporary Indian jewelry by a Red Lake Ojibwe artist. Email her for prices.
Wintun Jewelry and Arts|
California Indian jewelry made traditionally out of abalone, dentalium, and other shells. Unfortunately, they no longer have online sales, but the shop is still in business at its physical location-- if you phone them at 530-623-9393 they may be able to ship to you.
Ancient Ways Jewelry|
Another great tribally owned craft shop that no longer sells online-- you can browse their old site above and give their store a call at (307) 332-6001 if you're interested in their fine Arapaho and Shoshoni beaded jewelry.
|North American Indian Jewelry and Adornment||Encyclopedia of Native American Jewelry||Southwestern Indian Jewelry||Hopi Silver|
|Beautiful book showcasing Native American beadwork and jewelry from different tribes.||Expensive, but if you're a serious collector or art historian, it's very informative.||Photographic exploration of native Southwestern jewelry from ancient to modern times.||Fascinating documentary on Hopi silversmiths and the traditions behind Southwest Indian silver jewelry.|
|The Beauty of Hopi Jewelry||The Beauty of Navajo Jewelry||Zuni: A Village of Silversmiths|
|Art history and photographs of Hopi Indian jewelry.||Art history and photographs of Navajo Indian jewelry.||History and craftsmanship of Zuni silver jewelry.|
About us: This website belongs to Native Languages of the Americas, an non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting endangered Native American languages. We are not artists ourselves, so if you are interested in buying some of the jewelry featured on this page, please contact the artists directly. Though we have featured only Native American jewellery identified with the name and tribal affiliation of each artist, we haven't called the tribal offices to check up on any of them, and we only know a few of them personally. We also don't guarantee any of their products. This is not an exhaustive list of American Indian jewelry--if you would like us to add your jewelry site to this page, please contact us with your URL and tribal affiliation. We advertise any individual native artist or native-owned art business here free of charge. We do not link to "dead pawn" jewelry, or to jewelry which is not made by tribally recognized American Indian, Inuit, or First Nations artists. And finally, websites do occasionally expire and change hands, so use your common sense and this general rule of thumb: if the creator of each individual artwork is not identified by name and specific tribe, you are probably not looking at authentic American Indian jewelry.
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