Native American jewelers deal in hand-crafted American Indian jewelry that has rooted itself in both American history and current fashion. American Indian designs have been produced since prehistoric times. Each piece is high in fashion now for its one of a kind nature, its natural attraction, and elegance. Modern archaeologists found that Indian jewelry styles vary from tribe to tribe.
Native American jewelers create two very general categories, namely, metalwork and beadwork. Prior to Europeans’ arrival, native metalwork was quite simple with hammering and etching copper into pendants or earrings and fashioning copper and silver into beads. In the 1800's when Navajo, Hopi and Pueblo artists learned techniques from the Spanish, a new style was developed that was the fusion of new techniques with traditional designs.
Native beadwork style consists of fine grinding of turquoise, coral, and shell beads smooth heishi necklaces, the soaking and piecing of porcupine quills, and the intricate stitching of thousands of beads together. It is not always easy to spot an item made by an authentic Native American jeweler. The price, materials, appearance, and the seller's guarantee of authenticity may sometimes help. Though Indian artisans make and sell reasonable souvenir-type items, authentic first-rate Indian jewelry can be very costly. Most jewelers use sterling silver (the most common metal used) complemented with shell, turquoise, coral, onyx, lapis lazuli, or carnelian.
Jewelry made by quality artisans has no wavering lines or lopsided designs. Good quality products use stones which are well cut and uniform in size, and fit tightly into their places. Counterfeit stones are poorly cut, leaving a large amount of metal-colored glue seeable between the metal and the stone. Native Indian jewelers always stamp their hallmark on their products to identify their work.
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