About Native American Jewelry Tips

Manager of jewelry store, pawn shop, and vintage Dooney & Bourke handbags at www.horsekeeping.com

Plains Pipe Feather Drop

 

Vintage Plains Pipe with Feather Drop

Once you have chosen your pipe bowl and stem, you can use them as is or dress them up with beads and feathers. See the end of this article for a list of other posts here on my blog about the Lakota chanunpa.

Lakota Four Winds Eagle Effigy Pipe made from sacred pipestone

Lakota made ash pipe stem

One traditional Plains addition is a feather drop which can be attached a number of ways and embellished as you see fit.

A feather drop can be attached to the stem in a number of ways.

 

Feather Drop – Turkey as Eagle

Feather Drop – Turkey as Raven

Feather Drop Details

 

Vintage Plains pipe

For more information, read my other related posts by clicking on the links below:

Native American Pipes – The Sacred Pipe
Lakota Four Winds Pipes
Sacred Red Pipestone from Minnesota

Paula

Woody Crumbo

The Flute Dance (722) by Woody Crumbo

Woodrow “Woody” Crumbo, Potawatomi
1912-1989
Woody Crumbo was an artist, Native American flute player, and dancer who lived and worked mostly in the West of the United States.

His paintings are in the Smithsonian Institution, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Thomas Gilcrease Institute in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Woody Crumbo was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1978 for his paintings. He served as an “ambassador of good will” for Oklahoma, appointed in 1982 by Governor George Nigh.

Peace Offering (812) by Woody Crumbo

While studying art in Kansas and Oklahoma during the 1930s, Crumbo supported himself as a Native American dancer, performing on reservations across the United States. He was a conduit – collecting and exhibiting traditional dances.

To see more detail about the dances that are shown in the slide show below, click here.

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He became the Director of Art at the Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma from 1938-1941, succeeding Acee Blue Eagle.

The Shield Dance by Acee Blue Eagle

In 1939, the U. S. Department of the Interior commissioned him to paint murals on the walls of its building in Washington D. C. His “peyote bird” design became the logo for the Gilcrease Museum.

Peyote Bird by Woody Crumbo

From 1948 to 1960, Woody Crumbo lived in Taos, New Mexico. It is there he began making multiple “originals” using engraving, printing, silkscreen.

Paula

The Role of Churro Sheep and Angora Goats in Navajo Life

Sheep by Navajo Harold Davidson

Sheep and goats have been an important part of Navajo life since the 1500s.  Read about the importance they have played in Navajo life by clicking on the titles below:

A Short History on Navajo-Churro Sheep

The Oldest Domesticated Livestock in the United States: Navajo-Churro

Angora Goal by Navajo Harold Davidson

Churro Sheep

Navajo Churro Sheep

Native Americans were first introduced to Churra sheep brought to North America by colonizing Spaniards in the 1500s. The Navajo and Zuni proved to be very good herders and weavers and Churro sheep became a main source of their negotiable wealth.  Churros come in a variety of colors, including reds, browns, black, white, and mixes, and color may change with age.

Sheep by Navajo Harold Davidson

The color is made up of fleece color and the separate color of the head and legs. The fleece comes in a wide variety of natural colors and may have spots and patches of contrasting color. In many cases this eliminates the need for dying although some natural dyes are used to produce deeper colors. The Navajo people have used Churro fleece in rugs and other weavings for many years.

Churro ewe and lamb

Navajo Angora Goats

Records related to Angora Goats state that the mohair has been used as far back as the time of Moses. Goats are said to be the second animal to be domesticated (dogs were first).  The Navajo Angora, also known as the ‘Spanish’, ‘Traditional’, or ‘Heritage’ Angora, are not of Spanish origin but are descendants of animals first imported from Turkey to the United States in 1849 by Dr. James P. Davis of South Carolina.

Angora Goat

Navajo, already raising Churro sheep and other goats, added Angora goats to their flocks in the early 1900s. Both Churro Sheep and Angora Goats tolerate the southwest’s arid climate and harsh browsing conditions.

Angora Goat

 


The Navajo Angora has ample fiber coverage over its entire body, but lacks fiber coverage on its face past the forehead, ears, and legs below the hock/knee (a small amount of downy fiber on the sides of the legs is sometimes seen).  This is an advantage as it prevents build up of burrs and other plant materials in the areas most likely to contact plants. Animals can be of any color or pattern. The average Navajo Angora produces 3-4 pounds of mohair per shearing and are shorn twice a year. 

Angora Goat by Navajo Harold Davidson

Sheep images in Native American art represent charity, patience, gentleness and riches. Sheep, goats and weaving are familiar scenes on storyteller items.

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Paula

Vintage Petrified Wood, Picture Jasper and Fossilized Agate Bracelets

Some vintage Native American jewelry features beautiful “stones” that almost seem to show a scene or tell a story. Such stones could be Petrified Wood, Picture Jasper, or Agate.

(In all these photos, please ignore the reflection from the lights – although these bracelets are over 50-60 years old, the stones are as bright and shiny as the day they were made and really reflect the light.)

Petrified wood is result of fossilization, the transformation of wood into agate through the process of absorption of the minerals into the cells of the wood. The resulting agate can be harder than steel.

Petrified wood can contain a wide variety of materials and minerals but most commonly agate, jasper and opalized wood.

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The colors that appear depend on what minerals are present. Iron oxides show reds and browns while manganese results in pink.

 

 

Copper, cobalt, and chromium will exhibit as greens and blues. Carbon is black and silica is white or gray.

 

Picture Jasper is similarly formed when quartz-rich mud is fossilized.
With all those colors from unique layers of various minerals, the specific chemical environment (pH, moisture, temperature etc.) surrounding the wood or mud along with the factor of time, some beautiful scenes and symbols can appear in petrified wood, picture jasper and agate.

 

Paula

Naja

Vintage Sterling Silver Naja

Naja (pronounced na-ha)  – also najahe and  názhah in the Navajo language means “crescent shape” or “curve”.

According to Arthur Woodward in “Navajo Silver,  A brief history of Navajo Silversmithing”:

“This emblem was old when Columbus crossed the ocean to the new world. It was wide spread from Africa to Serbia. In short, it was an Old World amulet fastened to horse trappings, preferably the bridle, to ward off the evil eye from the animal. These crescent shaped amulets were made of two boars tusks joined together or fashioned out of brass, iron, silver, gold, or bronze.  The Romans had them, so did the Moors. The bridle trappings of the conquistadors no doubt carried these same traditional ornaments.”

Historical precedents for the Navajo naja per Durbin in “North American Indian Jewelry and Adornment”

Durbin

The Naja, a talisman used on the browband of Moorish Horses, is thought to have been handed down from the Spanish Moors to Spanish caballeros in Mexico. It is unclear whether the Navajo adopted the crescent directly from the Spanish or from the Plains Indians where the symbol first appeared in North America. 

All-silver najas and necklaces were fashionable in the 1870s among the early Navajo silversmiths who created pieces for their own joy (per Dubin ). This was the beginning of the so-called Classic Period.

Early pieces were hammered or cast.

An ornate cast naja

After 1880 (per Paula Baxter “Encyclopedia of Native American Jewelry”) the setting of stones began.

There are many variations of the naja including inlay, petit point, needle point, the addition of hands, a completely closed crescent and more. Although the Navajo are most closely connected to the use of the naja, Hopi and Zuni artists used the symbol as well.

Needlepoint naja by Lorena Peina, Zuni

The naja is the central portion of squash blossom necklaces.

 

Sterling Silver and Turquoise naja on a squash blossom necklace

Sterling Silver and Turquoise naja with central pendant or drop on a squash blossom necklace

 

Inlay Turquoise and Mother of Pearl Sterling Silver naja on a squash blossom necklace

Sterling Silver and Mother of Pearl Naja on a squash blossom necklace

 

Sterling Silver and Turquoise naja on a squash blossom necklace

Paula

Authentic Native American Indian Fetish Necklaces

To begin talking about Native American fetish necklaces, first a little bit about fetishes.

A Native American fetish is a stone or shell carving and sometimes antler or wood, usually in the image of an animal.

Zuni Horse Fetish made of Acoma Jet

Indian fetishes can be carried or displayed. Those that are carried are often called pocket fetishes.

Lakota Pipestone Buffalo Fetish – makes a great pocket fetish because of its smooth surface and sturdy construction.

Those that are displayed are called table fetishes.

Zuni Deer Fetish carved from Antler

Zuni artists are the traditional fetish carvers but there are many talented Navajo carvers as well.

Pig by Stanton Hannaweeke – Zuni

Bobcat by Navajo Herbert Davis

To read more about fetishes, see my other blog posts:

Native American Fetish Carvings – What are they used for?

Animal Fetish Powers

Types of Native American Fetishes

Serpentine used in Native American Fetish Carvings

Native American Terms – Fetish, Totem, Amulet, Talisman

How Do I Display Zuni Native American Fetish Carvings?

Native American Fetishes – Zuni Carving Families

The Power of Native American Fetish Carvings – Story of the Midnight Bear

Native American Stone Fetish Carvings – Six Directions

How Zuni Navajo Native American Fetishes Are Made

 

FETISH NECKLACES

Vintage Fetish Necklace – origin unknown

Native American fetish necklaces are made with small fetishes that are drilled and strung like beads with fine shell, turquoise or jet heishi in between. Just like with pocket and table fetishes, fetish necklaces are made by both Navajo and Zuni artists.

AND BEWARE !! There are many NON- Native American fetish necklaces. They are usually made overseas and sold as Native American. BAD !!! Below is a slide show of 3 common imported, faux Native American necklaces. When we get items like this in an estate lot, we sell them in our Bargain Barn.

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Like any Native American item, buy directly from the maker or from a trusted seller.

Navajo horse fetish necklace

 

The animals can vary but often include birds, bears, horses, mountain lions, turtles, foxes, wolves and many others.

Zuni fetish necklace with many animals

The stones and shells usually used include turquoise, mother of pearl, pink shell, acoma jet, serpentine, pipestone and many others.

Navajo Fetish Necklace

Here are some more of my blog posts that relate to fetish necklaces:

What is a stacked necklace? More on Navajo and Zuni Fetish Necklaces

Are these Bird Fetish Necklaces Authentic Native American made?

44 Bird Fetish Necklace – is it Native American made?

Stacked Fetish Necklace – is it authentic Native American made?

Wanted – A Six Directions Fetish Necklace Set

Native American Fetish Necklace – Signed by Artist?

Native American Wearable Art – Stacked Fetish Necklace

Hector Goodluck Monument Valley Fetish Necklace

Native American Fetish Necklace – Mother or Grandmother Necklace

Bird Fetish Necklace from Goodwill

Paula

The Code of the West

Although this has nothing to do directly with Native American Jewelry, I thought it would be interesting because so many Native American artists live in remote areas as well as we here at horsekeeping.

Here is a little look at parts of our life here in the wild wild west.

The following article includes excerpts from an article by John Clarke
former Larimer County Commissioner

With comments and additions from me, Paula in turquoise !

“The Code of the West was first chronicled by the famous western writer, Zane Grey. The men and women who came to this part of the country during the westward expansion of the United States were bound by an unwritten code of conduct. The values of integrity and self reliance guided their decisions, actions and interactions. In keeping with that spirit, we offer this information to help citizens who wish to follow in the footsteps of those rugged individualists by living outside city limits.

It is important for you to know that life in the country is different from life in the city. County governments are not able to provide the same level of service that city governments provide. To that end, we are providing you with the following information to help you make an educated and informed decision to purchase rural land.

ACCESS

The fact that you can drive to your property does not necessarily guarantee that you, your guests and emergency service vehicles can achieve that same level of access at all times. Please consider:

1.1 – Emergency response times (Sheriff, fire suppression, medical care, etc.) cannot be guaranteed. Under some extreme conditions, you may find that emergency response is extremely slow and expensive.”

Rural citizens must accept responsibility for their own security, fire safety, and first aid.

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Because of our remote location and the presence of mountains and other obstructions, we do not have cell signal. That means no cell phones. 

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“You can experience problems with the maintenance and cost of maintenance of your road. Larimer County maintains 1103 miles/1775 kilometers of roads, but many rural properties are served by private and public roads which are maintained by private road associations. There are even some county roads that are not maintained by the county – no grading or snow plowing. There are even some public roads that are not maintained by anyone! Make sure you know what type of maintenance to expect and who will provide that maintenance.”

Here are some views of our local roads

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“1.7 – In extreme weather, even county maintained roads can become impassable. You may need a four wheel drive vehicle with chains for all four wheels to travel during those episodes, which could last for several days.”

 

“1.11 – Unpaved roads are not always smooth and are often slippery when they are wet. You will experience an increase in vehicle maintenance costs when you regularly travel on rural county roads.”

It is a 30 mile round trip to our local rural post office, an 80 mile round trip to town.

 

“MOTHER NATURE

Residents of the country usually experience more problems when the elements and earth turn unfriendly. Here are some thoughts for you to consider.

4.1 – The physical characteristics of your property can be positive and negative. Trees are a wonderful environmental amenity, but can also involve your home in a forest fire. Building at the top of a forested draw should be considered as dangerous as building in a flash flood area. Defensible perimeters are very helpful in protecting buildings from forest fire and inversely can protect the forest from igniting if your house catches on fire. If you start a forest fire, you are responsible for paying for the cost of extinguishing that fire.”

“4.5 – The topography of the land can tell you where the water will go in the case of heavy precipitation. When property owners fill in ravines, they have found that the water that drained through that ravine now drains through their house.”

 

“4.8 – Nature can provide you with some wonderful neighbors. Most, such as deer and eagles are positive additions to the environment. However, even “harmless” animals like deer can cross the road unexpectedly and cause traffic accidents. Rural development encroaches on the traditional habitat of coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, rattlesnakes, prairie dogs, bears, mosquitoes and other animals that can be dangerous and you need to know how to deal with them. In general, it is best to enjoy wildlife from a distance and know that if you do not handle your pets and trash properly, it could cause problems for you and the wildlife.”

Here are some of our closest neighbors……..

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“AGRICULTURE

The people who tamed this wild land brought water to the barren, arid east slope of the Rockies through an ingenious system of water diversion. This water has allowed agriculture to become an important part of our environment.

5.7 – Colorado has an open range law. This means if you do not want cattle, sheep or other livestock on your property, it is your responsibility to fence them out. It is not the responsibility of the rancher to keep his/her livestock off your property.”

Paula