American Indian Jewelry
The American Indians have long been famous for their jewelry.
Native American Indian jewelry includes anything from bracelets to necklaces, from earrings to rings. One of the most widely used stones in Native American jewelry is turquoise. Turquoise is believed to bring the person wearing it good luck and good fortune and has been used in Indian jewelry for over 2000 years.
The Zuni Indians thought the blue turquoise was male and represented the sky while the green turquoise was female and represented the earth. The Zuni were known for their fetishes – objects that were believed to have supernatural powers. Fetishes such as small animal carvings were often made of turquoise or used turquoise for eyes. The use of turquoise in ceremonies was very important to the Zuni.
The Rio Grande Pueblos thought that the turquoise color in the stone was stolen from the sky to put into the stone. Believing turquoise would bring good fortune, they decorated their most valuable idols with it. Many times, turquoise jewelry in created with a complimenting color such as red beads.
However, other stones are used in making Native American jewelry. Coral, sugilite, gaspeite, and charoite are stones used in jewelry too. Garnets are also used in Native American jewelry. They are usually a deep red, but some are green in color. Garnets are believed to be healing and are called the “stone of health.”
The Navajo are known for the silver jewelry. The Navajo have a long tradition of producing great silversmiths. Usually, the art of making jewelry is handed down from generation to generation. Some American Indian jewelry is so beautiful and finely crafted; they are considered more like works of art than jewelry. Many Indians believe that the stones used in Native American jewelry have certain powers given to them by nature. By wearing jewelry with certain stones, the wearer might experience healing of an ailment, harmony, or strength.