Native American Jewelry Techniques – Squaw Wrap

I’ve been researching to find the proper way to make a squaw wrap on necklaces to no avail.  How is this technique achieved?  I understand the type of thread/cord to be used, however, securing the cord at each end seems to be a mystery.  How are the ends of the cord secured?  Please help.  Thank you. Vicki

Squaw Wrap on Fetish Necklace

Squaw Wrap on Fetish Necklace

Hi Vicki,

The technique of finishing the ends of necklace in a squaw wrap is related to “whipping” which is a term related to finishing ropes by wrapping a cord around the rope/ropes such as is done in the squaw wrap.

While this answer does not provide a step-by-step how-to make a squaw wrap, it should get you headed in the right direction. There are several ways to lay down a cord, wrap and pull through to secure. It is my understanding that the cord used for the whipping (or squaw wrap) is the very long ends of the necklace, not a separate cord that is added. I assume you would tie the ends together at the desired length, then lay the ends down, whip, and pull to finish.

I’m going to provide you with some links I found, but you might also want to google these terms

whipping two ropes together

marrying two ropes together

Here are a few good posts – the first is from Wikipedia and talks about whipping in general.
This pdf file show more types of whipping with how-to narrative.

There is another traditional way to finish off the ends of a necklace and that is by braiding and waxing the two ends of the necklace – they are then tied together at the desired length. This is a great method since it allows for adjustable lengths.

Braided and Waxed Tie Ends on Santo Domingo Necklace

Braided and Waxed Tie Ends on Santo Domingo Necklace

Best of luck and if you do find the definitive way to finish off a necklace with a squaw wrap, please let me know so I can share it with other readers.


5 thoughts on “Native American Jewelry Techniques – Squaw Wrap

  1. Hi Vickie and others interested in this technique…I’m an ‘old'(very old) retired telephone company installer and craftswoman who does beading. For years I’ve used a technique that holds very well and is one I learned 40 years ago at’s called Cable Lacing and was done long before zip ties were invented. I’ve used this with both artificial and real can buy real deer sinew on eBay. Get the kind thats been prepared i.e.: brought down from a full dried sinew to threads, which are about 9-10 inches I have to sue several depending on the number of beading wire I’ve used and it’s length.

    There is a website that gives directions for this technique
    go to the very end of the page and use the last directions to have a tight self holding “Squaw Wrap”. I honestly don’t know if this is authentic but it looks the same as vintage squaw wraps I’ve seen.

    It requires practice and can be time consuming (It sure was when I did buildings full of cable wraping in the olde days) but if you want the look, this is it.

  2. I have a large Squaw Wrap silver buckle with turquoise, red coral and I guess brass eagle. It is signed but not dated. Is this a technique or name of a silver smith”

  3. Squaw
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Squaw is a misogynist slur,[1] historically used by non-Natives for Indigenous North American women; use of the term, especially by non-Natives, is now considered highly offensive, derogatory, and racist.[1][2][3] …
    Early derogatory uses
    In some 19th- and 20th-century texts squaw is used or perceived as derogatory. Most of these uses are not sexual. One author, for example, referred to “the universal ‘squaw’ – squat, angular, pig-eyed, ragged, wretched, and insect-haunted” (Steele 1883). Squaw also became a derogatory adjective used against some men, in “squaw man,” meaning either “a man who does woman’s work” (similar to other languages) or “a white man married to an Indian woman and living with her people” (Hodge 1910). (This was a popular literary stereotype, as in The Squaw Man.) …
    Change your use of this word unless you intend to be racist.

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