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Differences between native american jewelry styles?


#1

Could someone please instruct me as to what the differences are
between major Native American jewelry styles, such as Navajo, Zuni,
Pueblo, etc? I’m fascinated with the artistry, but, know very little
about what the markers and differences are among the styles. I love
the provided by the members of the Orchid bloggers and
respect their vast knowledge and willingness to share that knowledge

Thanks,
Susan
HERA Designs


#2

I didn’t see any replies to this so I’ll hazard one.

Could someone please instruct me as to what the differences are
between major Native American jewelry styles, such as Navajo, Zuni,
Pueblo, etc?

There are distinct differences in traditional styles, but not
everyone is traditional.

The last time I was in the southwest looking at jewelry (20+ years
ago) I saw some Navajo-made jewelry in many tribal styles, which
muddies the water a great deal. Perhaps other nations’ jewelers are
borrowing from one another as well. Some Native American jewelers may
also take their traditional tribal style in new directions, and some
are moving toward more European goldsmithing (incorporating pave’ for
example), and away from traditional style. This has probably
increased since I was there last. So it isn’t quite as easy as
looking on a Navajo website (or a Hopi site) and thinking that what
you see is sure to be typical / traditional.

Do web searches for various tribes’ jewelry and look for older pieces
(say 1950’s and before) to get an idea of what is traditional.

The best artists have gone beyond their tradition, which happens to
be the name of a book on the subject:

and

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1ix

I have a VHS tape of that, which is a delight to view. It appears a
DVD may be available from the author.

Best wishes,
Neil A.


#3
Could someone please instruct me as to what the differences are
between major Native American jewelry styles, such as Navajo,
Zuni, Pueblo, etc? 

I was going to answer this the other day, and I just plain forgot.

Of course, it’s all generalization, but it’s pretty clear, mostly.
Pueblo doesn’t mean much here. Pueblo Indians are just town-forming

  • “Pueblo” is town. Navajos ARE pueblo indians. Just FYI. Many of
    the other pueblos besides Navajo do other things, most prominently
    pottery. Of course everybody makes everything they want to, but this
    is more about industry.

With that said, there are three main makers of Indian jewelry in the
southwest - Navajo, Zuni and Hopi. All three have traditional
designs and in recent times there are contemoporary designs that can
veer pretty wildly from tradition.

Hopi jewelry is overlay, and traditionally the designs are the sort
you see in rugs or sand paintings- dancers, animals real or
mythical. Sometimes stones are added but often they are not.

Zuni jewelry is lapidary. Inlay, needle point and petit point. Inlay
can be anything but is usually also dancers and animals. Both Zuni
and Hopi rely heavily on the same imagery as cachina dolls, what we
might call, “The Gods”. Mudman and others. Needle point is clusters
of stone, almost always turquoise or coral, and the stones are
pointed on both ends. Like a marquise, almost. petit point is pear
shaped, pointed on one end and rounded on the other. People often
misunderstand that the stones come first and the silver comes after,
but actually it’s the other way around - clusters are made, and then
the stones are cut to fit.

Navajo jewelry is big on turquoise as the center piece, and the
metalwork tends to mimic the designs you’ll see on pottery - the
same iconic designs of animals, dancers and such, but much more
abstract and even with hints of wind and rain and the like. Of
course, a whole lot of it is just made to sell, and assigning some
grand meanings to it is pretty silly. But your typical turquoise
ring with a bit of silverwork around it is, if not Navajo, in the
Navajo style.

Jo-Ann wants the computer and there’s work to do, but I’ll mention
that many dealers include Inuit/Eskimo/Alaska in the mix of “native
American jewelry” Their work is quite different, but it largely
mimics Navajo styling in a way, though there are also images of the
sea, because they are often coastal…

Hope that helps a bit. Search: Charles Loloma, Preston Monongye and
there are many others. That’s the non-traditional side of it…


#4

I’ll add something to this. Look up Abram Begay (Navajo), Ben
Nighthorse Campbell (Cheyenne), Ray Tracy, Chee. One tribe uses more
applique type work, less stones, or no stones. The old style Navajo
work used a lot of stones, a lot more ornate decoration compared to
other tribes. Zuni…needlepoint type stone settings. “The Beauty of
Hopi Jewelry” by Theda Bassman is a good reference. I saw a Pueblo
silversmith last year & this yr. at a SW show in Arlington TX doing
jewelry representing ancient pottery shards. Indian art work/jewelry
is traditional & eclectic moving from the past to now & forward.

Sharon Perdasofpy
(Comanche, Cherokee)


#5

Okay Im going to chime in here to clarify some stuff for all my
non-Native friends out there in ganoksinland.

First off, you have to keep in mind there are over 500 Federally
recognized tribes here in the US and Alaska. Each one preferrs to be
recoginzed by its Nation and not generalized. For instance, I am from
the Pueblo of Laguna.

Navajos ARE pueblo indians. Just FYI. 

For the record, Navajo (or Dine’ as its preferred these days) are
NOT Pueblo Indians, they are distinctly Navajo. Here in New Mexico
there are 19 different Pueblos, the Navajo Nation, and 3 Bands of
Apache Nations. You call a Navajo person a Pueblo, they WILL correct
you. Its like calling a Cuban person Hispanic, or a Scottish person
Brittish…

With that said, there are three main makers of Indian jewelry in
the southwest - Navajo, Zuni and Hopi. 

Again, there are many different nations making jewelry of all types.
Historically, these three nations have developed a very recognizable
style, and I think you kinda outlined a general guideline on how to
visually recognize these distinct styles…

Of course, a whole lot of it is just made to sell, and assigning
some grand meanings to it is pretty silly. 

Ill agree to this statement, but please do not assume this is always
the case. I have a number of Native jeweler friends that have a lot
behind their work.

Hope that helps a bit. Search: Charles Loloma, Preston Monongye
and there are many others. That's the non-traditional side of
it.... 

Damn, I didnt make the list… :wink:

P@
www.patpruitt.com


#6
I'm fascinated with the artistry, but, know very little about what
the markers and differences are among the styles. 

It would seriously depend on where your interest lies, in the
historic work or more contemporary work. There are a handful of
individuals that have been in the industry a long time and are very
knowledgeable on the subject. The top names that come to mind are
Mark Bahti, Marti Struver, and Gene Waddell.

P@
www.patpruitt.com


#7
Navajo (or Dine' as its preferred these days) are NOT Pueblo
Indians, they are distinctly Navajo. 

Well, Pat I think that’s somewhat a native vs caucasion distinction
that I don’t quarrel with. If you say so, as a Native American, then
I accept that.

Again, there are many different nations making jewelry of all
types. Historically, these three nations have developed a very
recognizable style, 

San Idelfonso is a great example of a pueblo that makes ~everthing~

  • well, not so much weaving, maybe. As you say, especially here on
    Orchid, the three biggies are probably enough to get people started.
Damn, I didnt make the list.... ;-) 

We were in the Indian Cultural Center in Albuquerque a few years ago
(gotta have a Tiwa taco in the restaurant!) and there you were, in
your own case, no less.

I had this wonderful website that had a huge list of the the famed
and not so famed makers, but I don’t find it… Maybe I
neglected to bookmark it. Next best is probably Wright’s, the
premier gallery and showcase for Native American goods that was
there in the beginning - the beginning of the business boom for the
tribes, that is. Pat isn’t there either, but his brother Chris is.
The jewelry link will take you to a place - maybe better is the
Artist’s link and Nations/Tribes.

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1jf


#8

Actually the distinction between the pueblo nations and the Navajo
is one of the clearest in the desert southwest. The Navajo and Apache
are southern outliers of the Athabascan nations, which are mostly
centered in Canada. They have only been in Arizona and New Mexico for
about 400 years. The Pueblo peoples, OTOH, mostly have histories in
the region stretching back hundreds or a thousand years or more.

Like the Apache, the Navajos were traditionally raiders and tended
to be hated and feared by the Pueblo people. If anything, the Navajos
were more feared than the Apache bands.

As far as styles of jewelry are concerned, one good source on the
very traditional Navajo silversmithing products is “Navajo
Silversmiths” by Dr. Washington Matthews, published by the
Smithsonian in 1883. It discusses the state of the art in the late
19th century. It is also available for free from Kindle books and I
think from Project Gutenberg.

Fascinating book and it’s amazing to see what those silversmiths
accomplished with extremely simple tools and clever methods.

RC (who isn’t a Native American but who has lived in Arizona for
more than 50 years)