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

How are antlers obtained for Native American arts and crafts?

Hi Paula,

I recently stumbled upon your lovely website and am quite impressed with the vast selection of unique Native American products. I’m very interested in purchasing one of the Zuni fetishes and noticed that the one I’m interested in (Pinky) is carved from antler. Would it be possible to tell me how these antlers are obtained? Any information you could provide me with would be much appreciated. 

Thank you for your time! 

Warm Regards,

Ash

Rabbit Fetish carved from antler by Willard Laate, Zuni

Hi Ash,

Deer and elk shed their antlers in the late winter and regrow them early the following summer. We’ve found them when walking around on our land. It seems there are certain areas where the males go back to shed each year. Sometimes the antlers are found hanging in a bush or low tree showing the buck or bull used the tree to rub the antler off.

It is a completely natural annual process that does no harm to the animal. It is nature’s way. Antlers not only make wonderful carving materials but slices make good buttons for medicine bags and more.

Many artists have stockpiles of antlers they or friends have found. Most Native American artists I have talked with obtain their antlers this way.


Oh, wonderful! Thank you for the informative and speedy response. Much appreciated.

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Native American Symbols – Corn Maiden

The Corn Maiden is represented in jewelry and table fetishes as a woman with a body shaped like an ear of corn. She may or may not be wearing a headdress.

Tablita Corn Maiden by Delbert Cachini, Zuni

Corn is to Pueblo people what the buffalo has always been to the Plains Indians, the very symbol of LIFE. In Zuni mythology, the Corn Maidens brought this gift, and many of the carvings of women, especially those with a criss-cross pattern on the body, are carved to pay homage to the Corn Maidens.

Picasso Marble Corn Maiden with Tabletta by Carl Etsate, Zuni

What is a tabletta (also called a Tablita)? It is a portion of the headdress of the Hopi Butterfly Maiden (subject of an upcoming post) and often shown on the corn Maiden.  A tabletta is a ceremonial board headdress with stair step edges and a decorated front and back. It is worn by Native American dancers who depict the Corn Maiden, using a harness to hold it onto the head, so that the widest portion is seen from the front or the back.

The Corn Maiden represents the divine gift of the growing and harvesting of corn to Native American peoples. Often stylized, Corn Maidens are very captivating and reach out to you.

Corn Maiden carved from Deer Antler by Jared Amesoli, Zuni

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