Authentic Native American Jewelry: A National Treasure
There is a big difference between authentic Native American jewelry and phony impostors made with cheap materials. Authentic Native American jewelry is a work of art, handcrafted out of a long tradition, and reflecting the rich history of the Native American people. Authentic Native American jewelry, fetishes, and ornate day to day objects valued as art have been found dating back to as early as 200 B.C., solidifying authentic Native American jewelry as a national treasure.
History Authentic Native American Jewelry
Authentic Native American jewelry was many things to the Native American people before it became an adornment for non-native people. Because there was no written Native American language, authentic Native American jewelry served as a symbol of rank, status, tribal identity, and communication between the native people. Authentic Native American jewelry was used during marriages, as currency, and to delineate the lines between tribes.
Authentic Native American jewelry can be made from a variety of different mediums, and whether worn or not, is valued as art. Various metals, wood, animal bones, horns, and teeth, precious and semi-precious stones, beads, quills and pretty much anything available was and is used in creating authentic Native American jewelry. Native Americans put their heart and soul into fashioning such beautiful and meaningful jewelry.
Specific Tribes and Their Styles of Authentic Native American Jewelry
At one time the Americas were filled with over 10 million people, and by 1700 there were at least 60 distinct Native American tribes identified, each one having a different style of authentic Native American jewelry. Many tribes relied on the natural resources around them, and several are known for specializing in specific types of authentic Native American jewelry, such as:
- The Plains Indians- beadwork
- Northeastern Indians- shell work
- Northwestern coastal Indians- ivory and shell work
- Apache- turquoise
- Hopi- silver
- Navajo- stamped silver
- Zuni- semi-precious stones and shell work
These are just a few examples of authentic Native American jewelry. With such diversity among tribes, each was specialized in their craft.
Owning a piece of authentic Native American jewelry is owning the history of a people. Each piece is a work of art- heart, soul and times past reflected in it. Handcrafted in each unique style of the tribe that makes it, authentic Native American jewelry is not only an interesting trinket to show your friends or give as a gift, but a long standing tradition among the indigenous people of the land you now stand on. It is their gift to us.