History of Native American Turquoise Jewelry in The USA

April 1st, 2022 by admin No comments »

The Beautiful blue and green hues of turquoise have long been prized by the Native American peoples of the southwestern part of the USA. Entire cultures were built on mining turquoise and crafting sacred and special items from the attractive stone in areas which are now part of both New Mexico and Nevada. American Indian peoples were making necklace strands and other turquoise jewelry by hand many centuries before the first European settlers arrived. Because turquoise was so highly prized, it was widely exchanged and circulated among the Native peoples of the Americas, and the each of the tribes developed their own unique names for the striking blue stone. Scientific testing has proven that some ancient beads found in central and South America were originally dug from the Cerrillos turquoise mines near Santa Fe, New Mexico.

When the Europeans brought the technology of working metals like silver with them to the new world, the American Indians who learned the silver smith trade learned eventually began to add turquoise with the silver to develop their own special style of jewelry. A Zuni man by the name of Kineshde is believed to be the first to add turquoise to the hand crafted silver items he was making in the late 1800s.

Turquoise first came into popular high fashion in the US during the early 1890s, but Persian turquoise was the focus of the demand at that time, and only a few deposits of high quality turquoise were known in the US. In the following years, a number of high quality deposits previously worked by Native Americans were “rediscovered”, and shortly after 1900 and Americans began to recognize that American turquoise from the Western US was the equal of any in the world. Interest again began to peak around 1908-1910, and a considerable amount of American turquoise was mined, especially in Nevada. The majority of the Turquoise jewelry produced prior to 1910 was made by well-known jewelry manufacturing companies like Tiffany’s, and was produced in the standard Victorian styles of those times.

None of this was what we would recognize as Indian style turquoise jewelry. There were a few Native Americans making turquoise and silver pieces in what we now see as the traditional style, but they produced very few pieces and their very simple tools increased the man hours each piece needed for completion. That era was essentially the dawn of the traditional styles for silver-turquoise jewelry. America’s fascination with turquoise and genuine Indian Jewelry really began in earnest during the 1920′s when more people from outside the southwest began to see the beauty of this artistic jewelry.
At that time, the Harvey House restaurant chain opened a number of facilities across the southwest during the great days of popular rail travel across the US. At first, Indian Jewelry was only sold as curios in the restaurants for the patrons touring the west. Earrings and thin, small bracelets stamped with arrows and bows and containing symmetrically cut small oval pieces of turquoise were the types most in demand. The pieces produced during this time are still termed as having been made in the “Fred Harvey” style. Heavy Indian Jewelry did not become popular until after 1925, when the classic squash-blossom necklaces were first brought to the tourist market. The squash-blossom craze lasted until about 1940, when they were discontinued for the most part by most Indian artisans for requiring too much work and too much turquoise.

In the 1920′s and 1930′s, the concho belt changed from a simple silver belt to a more ornate belt with one to multiple turquoise stones in all the

Reputation Management is the Answer How Your Business Is Perceived

March 1st, 2022 by admin No comments »

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