Sedona Fine Jewelry
September 30, 2020
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Navajo Jewelry - Popular Types Of Navajo Jewelry

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Navajo jewelry comes in various exquisite designs like historical figures, nature symbols and animals. It reflects the raw energy of Native Americans and their way of living. It is a beautiful artwork that imparts Navajo's unique history and culture.

Navajo jewelry refers to the Native American jewelry which originated from a Native American tribe, the Navajo or Dine of the Southwestern United States. Navajo is the second largest Native American tribe of Northern America. In 1864, the Navajos were introduced to silversmithing or making objects in solid silver. This happened when they were held captive at Fort Summer in eastern New Mexico.

Atsidi Sani is the first Navajo silversmith who learned this trade in 1864 while they were captives. Sani became a skilled silversmith and imparted this knowledge to his four sons. His early silver works were bracelets, conchas and a variety of other jewelry pieces. Blacksmithing became Sani's main focus when he learned the skill from Nakai Tsosi, a Mexican. Between 1850-1865, he became the "most important iron smith".

Tommy Singer, a son of a silversmith and a member of the Navajo tribe from Winslow, Arizona is another well-known silversmith who also specializes in Navajo jewelry. His crafts include Navajo jewelry designed with turquoise, coral and silver pieces. He perfected his designs in a small studio in the Navajo reservation where he lived with his family and other tribal members. The designs he made convey meaning of the Navajo way of living. Tommy singer gained acclaim as the originator of the chip inlay design which he developed in the 1970s.

By 1880 Navajo silversmiths were creating handmade jewelry. The first Navajo handmade jewelries were bracelets, buckles, earrings, tobacco flasks, hair ornaments and pins, necklaces and bow guards. A common feature of the handmade Navajo jewelry is beads. The amount of beads on the jewelry represents wealth, status and authority.

The Heishi beads and the Wampun beads are two important beads that's been a part of the Native American culture.

Wampum beads

The Wampun beads were said to be the earliest forms of beads. They are referred to as traditional, sacred shell beads of Native Americans. The first Wampun beads were made of shells and later gemstones. Sometimes, coins were used as Wampun beads. However, they were made from different materials including white shells fashioned from the North Atlantic channeled whelk shell. The second one is from the white and purple heads made from the quahog or Western North Atlantic hard shelled clam.

Wampun beads were later used for trading between tribes but were initially used as a gift. These beads have a variety of colors which has different meanings. In Native American culture, these beads contributed so much. In several aspects of Indian life like curing ceremonies and marriages, Wampun beads are always involve.

Wampum beads were not just adornments for Native Americans. These pieces influenced jewelry, religious functions, social, financial and sometimes even political purposes. The Native Americans used woven belts of wampum to commemorate treaties or historical events. For protection and beauty, they inlaid their weapons and clothes with Wampun.

Heishi beads

Heishi beads are small tubes or disc shaped beads made of organic shells or polished and grounded stones. Heishi (pronounced "hee shee") means a "shell necklace". It originated from Santo Domingo Pueblo, New Mexico. It is the oldest form of jewelry in New Mexico.

The known master of heishi beads were the Indians of Santo Domingo Pueblo. These people were most skilled in making this creative and beautiful jewelry form. However, 30,000 years ago in Northern America, the same technique was already been in use.

Heishi are usually made to form a string which can take 2 days to 2 weeks to make. Popular Heishi strings are those that are made or turquoise, corals, carnelias and lapis. A Heishi string looks like a snake but feels very smooth.

Naja Sets

Aside from Wampum and Heishi beads, there are other popular types of Navajo jewelry. There is the Naja, which is a crescent shape with designs of bears, snakes or other floral designs. The Naja was believed to have been borrowed from the Spaniards. Naja sets were made of metal, beads, coins, or silver.

Squash Blossom Necklace

Squash blossom necklace is an adaptation of the Naja set. These necklaces can have turquoise, shell and other intricate inlay and overlay work. Like the Naja sets, Squash blossom necklaces are designed with sacred and lucky animals.

Bracelets and bangles, belts, earrings, rings and Kitohs or wristbands are some of the other forms of Navajo jewelry. The Navajo jewelry reflects the raw energy of the Native Americans from the bold overlay and inlay works displayed.

In Navajo jewelry, unlimited pieces can be worn by both men and women which is an advantage. Navajo jewelry is rich in history, which differs from the region where it was made. It is desired for its diversity, aside from its rich history.

Find the best Navajo jewelry at reasonable prices here at Discounts are also offered on our selected Navajo jewelry available on eBay and Amazon. Beautiful Navajo jewelry is truly a work of art. We offer various styles of Navajo jewelry that are suitable for different outfits.


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