Southwestern Distinctive Techniques

Southwest jewelry comes from the jewelry-making traditions of Southwest Native Americans. Techniques and designs are not necessarily exclusive to each Nation, since skills are traded back and forth, and even Anglos, or Caucasian people, learn and use these techniques. Sometimes a Nation, for example the Zuni or the Navajo, is known for a particular pattern or skill, but in the end other Nations will pick up the skill and create a new distinctive piece. The artist’s background can enhance the worth of the piece.  The majority of collectors of Southwestern jewelry take an interest in the artist’s background, thus the background is often available. An artist commonly marks his or her pieces with a sign or initials in order for the pieces to be recognized as genuine.

Southwestern silversmithing, a technique learned by the Navajo in 1864 and passed to other Southwestern Nations, shows distinctive methods and techniques seldom seen in other jewelry forms. Repouss, a technique which involves hammering metal into a shape from the back is often used to produce stunning forms in Southwestern Jewelry.. This antique method is rarely used in jewelry making apart from Southwestern jewelry but the Statue of Liberty was in fact made in this manner. The Moorish, Spanish and Native American cultures have all influenced this jewelry.  Southwestern designs include the squash blossom necklace containing a crescent or “naja” shape inspired by the Moorish.  Pieces which have crosses, conchos and rosaries stem from a Spanish influence.  The silversmithing trade came through these two cultures to the Southwestern Native Americans, who added their own cultural symbols, such as fetishes, and their own stones, like turquoise, to make Southwestern pieces truly incomparable to any other in the world today.

July 18, 2009 at 6:07 pm Leave a comment

Southwest Jewelry: Flair and Character

Do you have a high regard for distinguished design of Southwest jewelry? Diverse, avant-garde Southwest jewelry for the most part is made of silver, and is often found embracing ornamental turquoise stones.  Traditional Southwest jewelry pieces include malachite, mother of pearl, coral, charoite, opal, tiger’s eyes, amber, or sugulite yet some modern Southwest jewelry artists give a more up to date look to their pieces by using a non-traditional precious stone.

Many are captivated by its simple beauty. The sophisticated design of a Southwest piece is all the wearer needs to appreciate the piece.   Southwestern jewelry is worn by both men and women to embelish a look.  The three cultures of the Southwest Anglos, Hispanics, and Native Americans enjoy and appreciate the wear-ability and adaptability of this style of jewelry.

The Southwestern style of turquoise and silver can be found in pieces such as silver bracelets, rings, concho belts, belt buckles, dangle earrings, money clips, necklaces, pendants, and much more.  Southwestern jewelry looks great with a simple blouse or little black dress.   To see examples (and also shop Southwest jewelry at a very nice price), go to http://www.navajojewelryvillage.com

July 18, 2009 at 5:59 pm Leave a comment

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July 18, 2009 at 5:27 pm 1 comment


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