Navajo Sterling Silver Pendant
1 in stock
Sacred by Design presents unique pieces of jewellery crafted by Navajo, Zuni and Pueblo Native Americans. Imported from people who have been working directly with the Navajo and Zuni Native American silversmiths for over 40 years.
All pieces presented by Sacred by Design are authentic and carry the prestige of being part of the “Indian” jewellery tradition which has been passed from generation to generation.
NAVAJO – The Navajo Nation is one of the largest Southwest Native American tribes and is world-renown for their silver and turquoise jewellery. Navajo Indian jewellery is often characterised by chunky stones set in simple sterling silver bezels. The most popular stone among Navajo Indian artists is turquoise.
To the Navajo tribe, the colour turquoise represents happiness, luck, and health and carries religious significance. However, other gemstones like spiny oyster and coral are also featured in Navajo Indian jewellery.
Some Navajo Indian jewellery is purely sterling silver without stones. These pieces are generally hand-stamped or sandcast, although the Hopi Indian influence is evident in pieces that use the overlay technique to add depth. Some artists use oxidised silver to accent a design by amplifying depth while others brush their pieces to give them a vintage look.
Silver-smithing was first introduced to the Navajos by the Spaniards in the seventeenth century. The varied styles of some of the most prominent Navajo Indian jewellery artists reflect the mastery of techniques refined over hundreds of years and the influence of neighbouring cultures.
ZUNI – The Zuni tribe was the second Native American group to learn Mexican silversmithing techniques.
The Zuni are stonesmiths who cut stones to fit into a precise geometric pattern or design. Unlike Navajo Indian Jewellery that often uses chunky stones, Zuni jewellery is carefully cut, crafted and polished stones set in intricate arrangements.
Zuni craftspeople are renowned for their skill with inlay, a technique in which multiple stones are pieced together to form a single image. Their inlay tends to be more complex than Navajo, with more cuts and patterns.
Colourful stones are cemented into channels created by soldering pieces of silver to a backing plate. The stones are then polished flat, resulting in a gorgeous multicoloured figure with veins of silver running through it.
Turquoise and coral are among the stones frequently used in Zuni jewellery. Nineteenth and early twentieth century jewellery makers also made use of locally sourced materials such as lapis lazuli, malachite, spiny oyster shell and deer antler. Contemporary Zuni craftspeople have expanded their range to include exotic stones, though the tribe’s love of jewel tones still dominates.
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