The designs are effortlessly seminal, popularising natural motifs and organic materials like turquoise, shell and coral that have since become widespread, especially after the influence of art nouveau. Personal adornment was the chief application of Navajo jewellery and, at the same time, they used their pieces as hereditary symbols to provide insights into the natural world. In fact, if you look closely you can almost see those great biblical skies and wandering plains that were their roaming grounds.
Native American Zuni Fetish Carvings are used for ceremonial artefacts, as well as for peace pipes, prayer sticks and ornaments. These animal motif carvings were popularly made for rituals and trade, featuring whichever icons were valued by each respective tribe. According to archaeological evidence they were first wrought by the Pueblo of Zuni, who roamed on the Zuni River and were known for their fine silver-smithing.
The Navajo were a hunter and gatherer tribe renowned for ‘squash blossom’ necklaces distinguished by the space between the beads. They first appeared in 1880 at the hands of Navajo silversmiths who wore silver tri-petal beads suspended from Naja pendants and interspersed with plain beads. Turquoise was the favoured stone for this design and was often framed by a precious metal setting with an antique finish.
The last Native American piece we looked at for this blog is this simple boho style necklace with handmade hemp cord spheres. We loved the carefully considered arrangement of turquoise, red coral and brass feathers as little charms. It’s one of those treasures that convey the supple artistry and humble aspirations of this native populace.