Native American Chiclet (Chicklet) Necklaces

Santo Domingo Chiclet Necklace

In 1899, US gum manufacturers formed a conglomerate, The American Chicle Company.

In 1906 Frank Fleer (does his name ring a bell, bubble gum lovers?) began making a hard-shelled, candy-coated white peppermint gum called Chiclets.

Chicle is the English version of the word tzikiti (“sticky stuff”), the Nahuatl word for the resin that makes chewing gum. Oddly enough though, Chiclets are made from a different gum base!

By 1920, Chiclets were available in bright colors: yellow, green, orange, red, white, and pink. The small shiny rectangles each had a different flavor – mostly fruits; the white was still peppermint.

Chiclets Gum

Native Americans, most specifically Santo Domingo artists, began calling their colorful, multi-stone necklaces “Chiclet Necklaces” and it is easy to see why.

Santo Domingo Chiclet Necklace

Some Santo Domingo artists add small treasures among the chiclets and call the necklaces Treasure Necklaces.

Santo Domingo Treasure Necklace with Fetish Bear

Santo Domingo Treasure Necklace with Pipestone Hummingbird Fetish


Native American Fetish Necklace – Signed by Artist?

Hi Paula,

I was interested in purchasing a fetish necklace made by Corrine Ramirez and wanted to know if this was signed by her, or had any kind of certificate by the artist?  Thank you!

Melissa

Fetish Necklace by Corrine Ramirez, Navajo

Hi Melissa,

I don’t know of any fetish necklace makers that sign their necklaces – they do so by “style” – that is, the pieces are recognizably by a certain artist.

We purchase directly from Corrine. That’s the best certification.

As far as a Certificate of Authenticity (COA), the only legal certificate is one signed by the artist. In other words, if a store owner gives you one that says “This is authentic Native American made by so-and-so” it is not valid. It is worthless.

With that said, only about 1% of the artists that we deal with issue signed certificates for each piece. We indicate on the item page if there is a COA.

Only one Navajo artist gives us certificates with her pieces. And we represent the work of hundreds of artists from many tribes.

However, aside from fetish necklaces, the majority of Native American pieces today are signed with some sort of hallmark.

So I’ve made a short answer long, just to give you more background.

Hope this helps.

Paula

It does Paula. Thank you for getting back with me.  I wasn’t sure if a necklace could actually be signed, but thought I’d check.

I want to be certain before I make such a big purchase.  Thanks again! Melissa

Native American Fetishes – Zuni Carving Families

All tribes in the Southwest US make small stone carvings. Sacred ones are called fetishes. The Pueblo Indians have developed the use of these carvings and it is the Zuni that are the most skillful stone carvers of the Pueblos. Evidence of fetish use has been documented to pre-Columbian times. Columbian times refer to those that occurred after European influence, or after Columbus landed in the Americas in 1492.

While there were only a few dozen Zuni carvers as recent as 20 or 30 years ago, today there may be as many as 300 Zuni carvers that belong to a dozen or more noted Zuni artist families.

Here are some of the Zuni carvers’ family names:

©  2010 Horsekeeping   © Copyright Information

BooneZuni Horse Fetish Carving
BooquaHand made Native American Indian Pig fetish carving
BowannieZuni penguin Fetish Carving
Cachini Hand made Native American Indian Fox fetish carving
CooeyateHand made Native American Indian Fox fetish carving
DavisHand made Native American Indian Ram fetish carving
DeyuseHand made Native American Indian horse fetish carving
GasperZuni wolf Fetish Carving
HalateZuni turtle Fetish Carving
HalooZuni owl Fetish Carving
LaateZuni coyote Fetish Carving
LaiwaketeZuni Horse Fetish Carving
LasilooZuni Horse Fetish Carving
LeekyaZuni Horse Fetish Carving
LementinoHand made Native American Indian sheep fetish carving

LonaseeZuni bear Fetish Carving
LucioHand made Native American Indian Buffalo fetish carving
LunaseeZuni tutrle Fetish Carving
MacHand made Native American Indian Ram fetish carving
MahootyZuni bear Fetish Carving
NatewaZuni horse Fetish Carving
PanteahZuni ram Fetish Carving
PintoZuni ram Fetish Carving
Poncho Hand made Native American Indian Rabbit fetish carving
PonchuellaHand made Native American Indian Pig fetish carving
QuamZuni Horse Fetish Carving
QuandelacyZuni bear Fetish Carving
ShackAuthentic Native American Indian  horse carving fetish
TsikewaZuni bear Fetish Carving
WallaceHand made Native American Indian Ram fetish carving

For more detailed information on Zuni carving families, refer to Zuni Fetishes & Carvings by Kent McManis.

Zuni Fetishes and Carvings by Kent McManis

Zuni Fetishes and Carvings by Kent McManis

A Native American fetish is a carving from rock, shell, antler, wood or other material that depicts an animal or other spirit. The carving captures the spirit and the essence of the animal, not necessarily its exact detailed conformation. When a carving has been blessed during a Zuni Medicine ceremony at the winter solstice, it becomes a fetish and is considered sacred. Fetishes are either kept by the carvers or given away to members of their tribe or other people.

Carvings that are very old may have been handed down for generations or have been tribal possessions for hundreds of years. It is believed that these carvings were actually live animals at one time and were petrified into stone beings by a magic bolt of lightning during the drying of the world. There were many such beings all over the earth’s surface which have been found over the years. It is said that whosever is of the good fortune to see such beings should treasure them for the sake of their sacred power which was given to them during the earth’s creation.

Today what we sell and most of what is sold elsewhere as a fetish is actually a rock carving, but it is very common to refer to them as fetishes, so we describe these wonderful stone animals as fetish carvings.

When one believes that a spirit resides in an inanimate object, that is called animism. When an inanimate object, such as a carving reminds one of the spirit of a being, that is a different matter. The difference between the two words is primarily a matter of belief. But in respect to the Zuni tradition, these carvings are not fetishes. However choosing one of these carvings is a very personal matter. If a carving speaks to you and makes you feel a certain way when you look at it, perhaps it is what you have been looking for to put on your desk or carry in your pocket. Similarly, if you are on a walk and you happen upon a stone that is already shaped like a buffalo and you pick it up and make it yours, that is powerful.

According to Zuni traditions, animals are divided up into 3 categories:

1. Game animals are those the furnish flesh to man. Today these animals are often referred to as prey animals because they are the prey of meat-eating predators. This would include deer, elk and rabbit, to name a few.

2. Water animals are those associated sacredly with water, not necessarily just animals who live in the water. This would include the dolphin, frog and the turtle.

3. Prey beings are those animals who hunt other animals to eat. Today these animals are often referred to as predators who prey upon game animals. This would include bear, wolf, and mountain lion.

Traditional carvings, sometimes referred to as “reservation fetishes”, tend to be of the “old style” with few details and are most commonly Prey Beings. Old style carvings are basically rectangular pieces of stone that have been shaped into animal forms. Often it is difficult to differentiate between a bear and wolf, for example, or a wolf and a mountain lion. They all look similar, kind of hunkered to the ground. The old style carvings make one think that the Native American artist saw an animal in a stone and just coaxed it out with a few simple lines. These are often referred to as “concretion fetishes”, stones that require very little carving to bring out or release the animal in the stone.

For hundreds of years, other tribes procured fetishes from the Zuni. While it is not customary for a Zuni to carve domestic animals, such as horses, sheep, cattle and goats, for personal use, they do so for Navajo herdsmen to protect their animals. That is why it is possible to purchase a wide variety of Zuni horse carvings today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Modern Native American stone carvings can be quite ornate and detailed and very beautiful. They often have much intricate work and various types of inlay. Also, the posture of the animal might be different from that of traditional carving. Modern carvers might depict an animal running, rearing, sitting or standing up on its hind legs. Some carvers give a bear a fish to eat, so the carving becomes a miniature sculpture with a story.

 

Native American Materials – Abalone and Mother of Pearl

Native American Materials:

Abalone and Mother of Pearl

©  2010 Horsekeeping © Copyright Information

Some Mother of Pearl can be from Abalone but not all Abalone is Mother of Pearl.

An abalone is a mollusk whose shell is irridescent on the inside. The shells are used whole as smudge bowls.

Abalone Shell for Native American Smudge Bowl

Abalone Shell for Native American Smudge Bowl

Portions of the shells are used as buttons and decorations on medicine bags.

Abalone shell disc used on Apache Medicine Bag

Abalone shell disc used on Apache Medicine Bag

The ABALONE represents solace, the greatness of the oceans, a life of beauty, gentleness, caring, comfort, peacefulness, and delight. Abalone shell discs are an age old object that has been traded tribally for centuries. It is a symbol of power and protection and symbolizes ancient travels.

Mother of Pearl (MOP), also called nacre, is the inner layer of some shells. It is made by when the mollusk (the organism inhabiting the shell) makes crystals – this is an oversimplification, but think of it like an oyster making pearls – very similar.

MOP is a blend of minerals that are secreted by oysters, abalone, and other mollusks and deposited inside their shells, coating and protecting their bodies from parasites and foreign objects.

Mother-of-Pearl is said to stimulate intuition, sensitivity, imagination, and adaptability and help with clarity in decision making. Mother of Pearl stirs and awakens the primordial memory of your origin in the infinite ocean of divine love and stirs this memory in every cell of your physical body thereby producing an overall calming effect as it gently stirs the life energy of your cells. Like waves lapping the shore, this stirring is steady, relaxing, and rhythmical.

Mother of Pearl Turtle Fetish by Zuni Cheryl Beyuka

Mother of Pearl Turtle Fetish by Zuni Cheryl Beyuka

Mother of Pearl has a beautiful glow and can range from a pearly white, clear or with some striation, to iridescent multicolored blues, greens, golds, pinks, whites, and purples.

Vintage Native American Pawn Mother of Pearl Ring

Vintage Native American Pawn Mother of Pearl Ring

So…some Mother of Pearl can come from Abalone but it can also be from a variety of other fresh-water and salt-water mollusks including the pearl oyster.

Mother of Pearl Zuni Inlay Sunface by Abel Soseeah

Mother of Pearl Zuni Inlay Sunface by Abel Soseeah

See Wikipedia for more information on Abalone and Mother of Pearl