About Indian Jewelry

The problem of muddied heritage became more interesting to me as I learned lil bits about my family’s origins. My grandma was actually born in Texas, but once Texas became part of the U.S., she had no proof that she was born there. She and my grandpa were forced to leave their true home, along with their children, to a place that was new to them. It’s ironic, then, that her daughter (my mom) was considered to be a U.S. citizen because she did have a birth certificate proving she was born in Texas. So my grandparents wound up speaking more English than their U S. citizen daughter. Anyway, people who say “go back where you came from!” have no idea…some of us were already here.

It’s interesting to me that my own family reflects the racial mixture you saw in New Mexico. My grandma looked and dressed very Native while my grandpa looked like a blue-eyed tall Spaniard. The rest of my relatives range almost the full spectrum of ethnic features you’ll see anywhere.

Anyway, this was really about jewelry and I went kinda off topic. But what I love about ANY type of Native jewelry is that I feel it’s made to accentuate the loveliest features of the wearer.

I too have had problems getting my jewelry done in an apartment. I’ll be leaving this year–if all goes well – to do the van nomad thing so that I can finally do some $#&_@ ! hammering!

The tejanos were the generic term for all Spanish descent people before the anglos took over mexican territory. The new mexicans still call themselves spanish. I myself am not of hispanic descent, but neither black nor anglo. I am learning spanish and french to travel. the latter I am semi fluent in. I am just starting with spanish. the US is the only monolingual country in the world. It’s a shame. if anything, we should all be learning spanish and chinese…people should be proud of their heritage in a multiracial and multicultural society. Europe is so different in that people at the least bilingual and often tri and quadrilingual. I am travelling to escape the big cities where everyone speaks english… going to places where people do not speak english well or at all forces me to speak in the vernacular… being immersed and being able to communicate properly in another language and understanding their culture, as language is the bearer of culture is a wonderful experience for me.

Native american jewelry has evolved to a high state of art. I have noticed that inlays have become very popular as skill levels have improved over the decades. Some of them have branched out into fine jewelry but still retain their style… artists stamp their names or initials on a piece of jewelry. the same goes for native american pottery, laboriously hand made by coiling and smoothing, not thrown on a wheel…the decorations are done with a small, fine brush with pigments. Other non southwestern tribes have adopted southwestern styles… thunderbird motifs of navajo origin were superseded by pueblo kokopeili designs… the movement is back to more traditional styles and to fine jewerlry,…Chinese knock offs have invaded both markets. authenticity has become a problem… this is the same kind of problem that is faced with synthetic versus natural gem identification. Provenance has to be verified. Authenticity has to be verified. It makes it all the more difficult in the jewelry market.

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I get mine from a guy thats native out in Arizona. Hes got beautiful stones, silver and coral.

Just for fun… There is more about Indian jewelry than silver and turquoise. May I introduce you all to Native American jewelry maker Pat Pruitt. https://www.instagram.com/patpruittmetalsmith/?hl=en
Not all Native American art is about the past.


Does he have a store? I’ll be visiting AZ in late this year and it would be great to find some Native jewelry. If u want to give up the name that is : )

Love seeing new ideas, thank you!

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absolutely agree… Native American jewelers have one professional artists, some design and create fine jewelry…some do so using native american motifs, others don’t. can’t put them into one category and genre… that’s actually implicit racism although in a positive context… My problem is trying to value some new pawn squash blossom necklaces… I bought three of them with a bracelet and a couple of rings thrown in as a freebie. … I found them at a yard sale and I don’t think that the owner had any idea of how much they were worth. I got everything for 1K. … about 20 years ago… I saw them on sale in Albuquerque for 2 to 6K apiece… need to get them appraised… I think found where… the Albuquerque Turquoise Museum… i’ve lived in Albuquerque in the 1980’s but wasn’t even aware that it was there… apparently it’s been there for 3 generations.

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Sorry for the typos in the last post… it’s still readable… I just wanted to add that I saw another one at at antiques mall where I live and bought the three necklaces… this was at the same time, 25 years ago… the seller had not information about the turquoise nor the antique value either. From the style it was new pawn… Old pawn is worth far more… I asked the seller whether it was new or old pawn, he had no idea… I also pointed out that it had been restrung of a steel wire…His wife interrupted saying that I was “picking it apart”…the price at 1.5K firm was too high and they were not willing to bargain… they wanted to turn a big profit on top of the 40% commission that the store took… I didn’t buy it…

Lol just realized my post about “giving up the name” makes no sense. Sorry, was probably half asleep.

Yeah I agree about the implicit racism. I believe it’s drilled into most of us and hard to see in ourselves unless someone points it out. It’s like someone expecting me to make Mexican jewelry just because I’m Mexican.

all jewelers no matter what background or ethnicity can create jewelry according to their own style, wants and needs. traditonal blends with modernity in uniques styles… others create fine jewelry according to market dictates, others yet are artitsts working traditionally and sign their works… i’ve seen it all… and eveything is highly attractive, as long as well designed and executed… skills that are universal to all jewelers.

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