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Thursday, January 28, 2016

How to Make Native American Jewelry



A guest post by Jessica Kane
 
Jessica Kane is a professional writer who has an interest in arts and crafts, DIY, and other handmade products. She currently writes for Indian Traders, a leading vendor of native american blankets and jewelry.


  How to Make Native American Jewelry
Native American jewelers define their jewelry as something that uses more natural materials. For example, they might use semi-precious gems, bones, shells or feathers to create jewelry. Because Native Americans traded with the colonists, they also encountered newer materials that they added into their jewelry, such as glass beads, precious metals like silver and other materials that they incorporated into their jewelry.

The Squash Blossom

One example of Native American jewelry would be the Squash Blossom necklace, which is a Navajo necklace. For thousands of years, the Squash Blossom necklace served as a symbol for people to take power over the forces that affect society. When the Navajo first started working leather, silver and other precious metals, that is when they took their culture from a warrior culture and turned it into more of a merchant culture. 





How to Design Your Own Native American Jewelry

To design your own Native American jewelry, you start by studying authentic Native American jewelry. You might own a piece of your own, and you might look at photos of it. This serves as a template for your own plan. Next, you have to gather the materials that you will need. Some of the materials that have been used in Native American jewelry include:

      Stones
      Horn
      Shells
      Porcupine Quills
      Feathers

Historically and traditionally, the Native Americans put their jewelry together using leather and plant fibers. They might also have used the tendons from the animals that they hunted. The thing about the Native Americans is that they did not waste anything from the animals they hunted.


Should You Invest in a Semi-precious Stone?

Designing jewelry comes down to adding your own personal flair to it. To design a piece of Native American jewelry, you can use coral, turquoise or another stone to serve as the focal point. When it comes to Native American bead-based and metalwork jewelry, you have two separate classifications.

The Use of Silver Jewelry

The Navajo and other Southwestern Native Americans made a lot of use of sterling silver. They became so good at it, in fact, that they became famous for their silver jewelry. However, they did not traditionally work with this material. Silver working came about when they associated with the Spanish. If you are going to craft Navajo jewelry that includes turquoise or silver, you will need an exceptional level of skill. First, you have to learn how to work with copper and silver. Bead work in Native American jewelry goes back thousands of years, but they did not work with glass beads until after the Europeans came to the Americas. Before glass beads, they used other materials to create beads, including:

      Wood
      Stone
      Teeth
      Bone
      Shells

If you have a deep interest in learning how to create Native American jewelry, consider enrolling in a workshop that will teach you how to make authentic Native American jewelry. If you are serious about the craftsmanship and you want to go into business for it, this can be a huge help.




The Different Types of Native American Jewelry

Bolo ties remain a unique craft that comes from the Southwestern Native American tribes. They wore it around the neck, instead of wearing a tie. Oftentimes, bolos have been made from braided leather or ornamental stones. If you ever looked at the different Native American jewelry, you might realize that some jewelry looks similar. This is because a lot of Native American tribes were influenced by the neighboring tribes. As a result, some of the jewelry looked strikingly similar. Nevertheless, a lot of Native tribes still kept their own personality and traditions alive. Another reason that the differences were less noticeable was because even before the colonization of the Americas, beads, copper, ivory and amber were huge trade items.

Spiritual Native American Jewelry

Sometimes the jewelry served a spiritual purpose. For example, sometimes jewelry that incorporated feathers were intended as a form of prayer. It could also be a mark of honor or to represent the creative force of nature. If the jewelry uses an arrowhead, it is said to represent the adventurer in each of us, and it also represents the hunter. Sometimes, they placed turquoise into their jewelry because it was said to bring good fortune, strength and help with illnesses. The natural variations of turquoise were part of their large appeal with the Native Americans. If you see onyx incorporated into your jewelry, it is believed that it collects negative energy from those who wear it.

 

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