Tips For Identifying Native American Jewelry.
The Navajos are one of the largest Tribes living in the four corners of the Southwest. They have a large number of members who are registered silversmiths who hand make wearable art for a living.
With such a large number of Navajos Artists creating jewelry, the different styles can be quite diverse. So how do you know when you have a piece of authentic handmade Navajo jewelry?
Let us present this vintage cluster bracelet made by a Navajo Artist.
How about this cluster Lone Mountain Pendant/ Pin by a Zuni Artist from the Family Wheebothee.
Zuni artists specialized in inlay and in working with small stones.
It was the belief many years ago by the Indian Traders that the reason why the Zuni specialized in inlaid stones before the Navajos, was that the electricity came to the villages before it came to the Navajo’s village. The thought was the electricity ran the grinding machines that helped them do this type of work more efficiently.
A lot of Navajo silversmiths and Navajo nations didn’t have electricity to do their work. Also, there is another belief that Zuni people got more experience with stones because they had already been manipulating stones for hundreds of years due to the importance of creating fetishes in their ceremonies.
Considerations when identifying Navajo handmade jewelry clusters.
- Navajo’s pieces are usually much heavier than Zuni’s piece.
- On bracelets, the shank in Navajo piece is a heavy triangle wire and in Zuni piece, it is lighter round wire.
- Zuni work is more like having drops, or those classic cut out crescent moon shapes
- All these assumptions do not always hold true. But I think they are a good starting point for your investigation.
Two more things when identifying Navajo Inlay pieces.
-Many times, the Zuni’s work incorporates designs from their culture like their “Sun Face”.
_Again, not to be a broken record…The Navajo silver work is going to be much heavier. A good example of this, is this inlaid cuff by Vernon Haskie.
At Sedona By Manzano Jewelers, we offer a selection of genuine jewelry made by the Native American Indians from the Southwest. For us, it is a great honor and pleasure to personally select the wide variety of art that we offer in our inventory, as well the opportunity itself to meet with the craftsmen.
My Husband Alfonzo, Our mascot Momo and myself, love to take our business trip to the Southwest by car.It is such a great opportunity to admire, enjoy and observe the wonderful landscapes, mountains, rivers and deserts the Southwest has to offer. We also enjoy visiting the Navajos living in the States of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, as we have so many great memories of being on the road visiting our suppliers and their beautiful natural gems.