Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Feature: Zuni Jewelry

Below are some extraordinary examples of Zuni craftsmanship using turquoise, coral and various inlay stones in sterling silver.

For centuries the Zuni Indians have worn jewelry made with simple designs of turquoise and other gemstones. The History of Zuni jewelry began long before the time of complex inlay stone and silver jewelry as seen today, the Zuni people were great lapidaries in ancient times. They made carvings of fetish ornaments and Kachina dolls, many fine skills were developed when working with small pieces of stone.

Metal working also introduces very early on as it is believed that an traveler taught the people to build one of the first native American forges in exchange for a good horse. Though this acquired craft did not serve artistic purposes, it allowed the Zuni tribe to become familiar with metal working. It was not until the 1870s, that the idea of silver jewelry making first appeared in the Zuni tribe. A Navajo silversmith taught a Zuni friend the ways of jewelry making and that Zuni artist brought the idea back home and taught others
The Zuni were easily able to apply their stone lapidary skills to this new found art and slowly they developed their own unique techniques and styles. As the demand for fine silver jewelry grew in the southwest, the Zuni jewelry makers quickly became well known for their extraordinary work. Today they are recognized as some of the most skilled stone jewelry artists and create some of the most intricate and complex stone and shell designs in the field of handmade jewelry making. (see original text here)

To browse more collections of native jewelry, visit our website or stop by the gallery today!

79 Rue St.Paul Est
Montreal, QC
H2Y 3R1

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