Vintage Native American Brooches and Pins Make a Comeback

A brooch is usually a large decorative piece of jewelry pinned to a sweater or dress to complete and outfit and make a bold statement.

A pin is a smaller, simpler item that can be used in a variety of more subtle ways.

Depending on the design, colors, materials and subject matter, a brooch or pin can define an ensemble and the person wearing it !

For a while, it seemed like brooches got a bad rap – maybe due to the gaudy and clunky costume jewelry brooch that often comes to mind.

But recently both brooches and pins have made a strong comeback in the fashion world. So it is a perfect time to get out your vintage and new Native American pins and use them in all kinds of ways. Here are some ideas from classic to unique and a pin that I think would work for each specific use:

At the center of a neckline

NPP485-sunface-unkestine-1

On a collar

NPN753-AB-bee-yazzie-A

Anywhere on a jacket or coat

NPN781-knifewing-woody-1

On a scarf to adorn and/or hold it in place

PN440-WB-stamped-repousse-multi-AP-1

To keep a blouse or shirt buttoned

PN441-petit-turq-350w

 

On a clutch purse

PN436-WB-sandcast-turq-1

On the strap of a purse or backpack

NPN768-AB-kokopelli-perry-A-1

Anywhere on denim, pockets, lapels, anything goes

NPC702-AB-PP-spiny-brown-A

On the strap of a tank top

NPP452-lizard-turq-ration-1

To draw attention to or away from an area

NPN714-cluster-wilson-1

With a hair scrunchie or headband

P190-OS-PP-turq-hannaweekea-1

On a hat

P326-AB-WB-circle-multi-A

On shoes or boots

PN438-WB-sandcast-bow-turq-1

On a turtleneck

PN411-coral-abalone-1

As a pendant – for this you can use the pin itself to hang onto a necklace or between the beads of a necklace.

NPP436-bowcluster-coral-skeets-1

Or you can you can use a pin to pendant converter to help.

CON4H-850w

What are some other ways to use a pin or brooch?

Paula

Copper Jewelry – Characteristics, Care, Reaction with Skin and Health Benefits

Copper Characteristics

Copper is a pure elemental metal, CU on the periodic table. It is reddish brown and is soft enough so that it is malleable which means you can shape and bend it fairly easily.

Copper oxidizes and darkens when it comes in contact with the air in the environment. It tends to get to a certain dark color but then it doesn’t get any darker.

If you’ve ever seen copper roofs that have turned green, that is what is called copper patina. The copper has reacted with the environment and rain, especially if it is acidic rain.

The same sort of thing can happen when copper comes in contact with your skin if your skin is acidic. The acids in your skin combine with copper and make copper salts which are green. They are harmless and can simply be washed off.

Copper Care

Copper develops a patina, much like sterling silver, but faster and darker, especially in the presence of heat, sunlight, sweat, swimming pools and chlorine water, chemicals and cosmetics. Remove copper jewelry before bathing, swimming, doing dishes, putting on lotion or makeup.

Some people love the deep rich look of vintage copper while others like the bright shiny bronze look of clean copper.

Storage
Keep cooper in a cool, dry place. If possible, store in an anti-tarnish pouch, box or cloth. If you have none of these, use a tightly sealing plastic bag to keep air from contacting the copper items. Adding a strip of anti-tarnish paper can also slow down tarnish.

Cleaning
Effective cleaning products for copper are highly acidic. Here are some methods for cleaning a solid copper item with no stones or gems.

Lemon Juice

  • Lay a cloth on your kitchen counter, one that you don’t mind getting dirty.
  • Place your copper item in a glass or ceramic bowl on the cloth.
  • Squirt lemon juice over the item.
  • Move the item in the liquid so that all surfaces have a chance to react with the lemon juice.
  • Use a toothbrush to scrub the lemon juice in the crevices.
  • Rinse.
  • Wash with warm water and soap, using your toothbrush again if necessary.
  • Dry

Salt and Vinegar Soak

  • Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 cup of vinegar to 2 quarts of boiling water.
  • Remove the pot from the heat.
  • Dip the copper item in the liquid, rinse and dry.

Lemon Juice Salt Paste

  • Mix lemon juice and salt together until you have a paste which you can use for deep cleaning.
  • Apply with a cloth or toothbrush as appropriate.
  • Rinse
  • Dry

To make a paste that you can apply and leave on an item for a deeper cleanse, you can make a thicker paste by adding some flour to the above lemon-salt paste.

Ketchup and Worcestershire sauce have been noted to be excellent copper cleaners but more expensive than the home preparations above.

To maintain the shine, you can buff a copper piece with an anti-tarnish cloth.

Reaction between copper and your skin

If you have ever had a copper bracelet that started to turn green or even turn your skin green, you might have been turned off by copper.

The green color results from an individual’s body chemistry at a particular time. Two people can wear the same bracelet and one person’s wrist will turn green and the other’s will not. A person can wear a copper bracelet one day with no green marks and the next day green marks might appear.

What does the green tell you? The green color means that your skin has become more acidic and has dissolved copper from the bracelet faster than the body can absorb it. This usually happens when we sweat, when we are stressed, when we experience dietary changes, mainly a poor diet (think junk food).
Green marks might also appear when the body is deficient in copper so is trying to obtain it a rate faster than it can absorb.

When the body is in a state of homeostasis, the copper is absorbed through the skin at the same rate it is dissolved from the bracelet so there are no green marks.

Some makers of copper jewelry, put a coating (sealer) on the copper item to preserve it and prevent the copper from interacting with the wearer’s skin. But then, the purported health benefits of wearing copper would not be achieved.

Is there a health benefit to wearing copper?

There are many who swear by the health benefits of wearing copper (copper bracelet manufacturers) while others have the opposite viewpoint.

Most everyone agrees that wearing copper jewelry does no harm.

Proponents of the benefits say copper does some or all of the following and more:

  • Provide necessary copper by absorption through the skin.
  • Relive arthritis, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome pain etc.
  • Clear the body of toxins.
  • Aid in healing.

To decide for yourself, here are some interesting articles on copper:

Copper and Your Health from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Beneficial Therapeutic Effect of Copper Bracelets – Life Extension

Medical View of Effectiveness of Copper Bracelets – Creighton University

Health Benefits of Copper Bracelets – eHow Health

Medicinal Effects of Copper Bracelets – Scientia Press

Visit our Copper Shop to find all kinds of vintage copper treasures !

Share

Vintage Native American Thunderbird Pin Wanted

Dear Paula,
Is it possible to get another thunderbird like the vintage P133?  the new thunderbirds do not look like this one.  Thank you very much.
Navajo
Sterling Silver Vintage Thunderbird Pendant #P133

John

Dear John,

Thanks for writing. The items in our pawn shop are older items and we get them in, usually in a lot such as from somebody’s collection or an estate lot, so there would be no way of predicting when we might get something similar to that Thunderbird pendant in. It looks a little more Pacific Northwest to me rather than Southwest.

You could keep an eye on our NEW page which is where we list something new each day – and that means pawn items as well as new contemporary.
I’ve just listed a few new Thunderbirds which I think you might like……….

These wonderful old style pins are made from heavy gauge sterling silver plate; hand cut, deeply hand-stamped, smoothed and polished leaving some areas intentionally oxidized or darkened. A polished turquoise stone is set in a handcut smooth bezel. A twisted sterling silver rope encircles the bezel. Albert Cleveland typically uses King Manassas turquoise, known for its brilliant greens with gold or brown matrix. They have a locking pin finding. Very retro.

Albert Cleveland is of the Dashchanii clan and was born on the Navajo reservation near Mt. Taylor. He and his wife live near Gallup, New Mexico. His brother is Bobby Cleveland and his parents Etta and Philip Cleveland. Cleveland signs his pieces AC if he works on them alone or AJC when his wife Jacqualine works with him. Albert Cleveland works in a retro style, reminiscent of the 1940’s curio shop work which featured Native American symbols such as Eagles, Thunderbirds, Bears, Waterbirds and other animals.


Share

Our Bargain Barn is like an Online Garage Sale

Hi!
I ordered two items yesterday, a needlepoint bracelet and barrette – are the turquoise stones mined turquoise or are they man-made?  Looking at other online sites, I see a distinction being made and didn’t see a specific reference on your site.  Thanks. Pat

Hi Pat,

The bracelet on the way to you is made from mined, clear Sleeping Beauty stones.

The needlepoint barrette made by the Nez family is made with mined turquoise stone and stones used for small needlepoint work are usually treated (stabilized) to prevent breakage of the tiny pieces.

So both pieces are made from mined turquoise stones.
We don’t state on each page that all of our new Native American jewelry items are made from mined turquoise because we only buy from artists who use real turquoise.  You can read All About Turquoise and Mines here.
We never sell anything made from man-made stones unless it is so noted and they would usually be in our Bargain Barn where we list Non-Native American items or items we are not sure about.
We often purchase estate lots which include some non-Native American items or things we can’t authenticate. I’ll include some examples of those types of items below the Bargain Barn logo just to give you an idea.

Bargain Barn Pin

Bargain Barn Ring

Bargain Barn Earrings

 

 

Bargain Barn Belt Buckle

 

Bargain Barn Bracelet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bargain Barn Bone Choker

 

So, just as a reminder:

All of the items in our New Native American Jewelry Store are sterling silver with shells and mined stones and are made by Native American Artists.

All of the items in our Pawn Shop are used Native American pieces.

The items in our Bargain Barn are a mixed bag. Some could be Native American, some definitely are not, and some are costume jewelry.

Have fun browsing !

Share

Native American Symbol – Peyote (Water) Bird Colors

What do the coral and turquoise inlay represent in the peyote (or water) bird?  I have heard they refer to fire & ice, but I would like a better explanation if you happen to know.  [Or if you know of a place to refer me to]  I want to put a peyote bird on my fire place mantle in cut stone and emulate it, but would like to know why first..??  Why the two colors?  Thank you for your time, your website has been most helpful!

Lisa

Hi Lisa,

To expand or clarify on my previous postings on this subject, the peyote bird is associated with the Plains Indians and the Native American Church and the water bird is associated with the Hohokam culture. And yet many people consider these symbols to be very similar or the same.

The Hohokam were the early inhabitants of south central Arizona.

Evidence of their life there dates between 100 B. C. and A. D. 1500. Today’s Pima Indians and Tohono O’odham (formerly Papago) are said to be Hohokam descendants. The first known turquoise jewelry of the southwest was found in this location.

Archeological Remains of the Hohokam Culture in the Southwest United States

The peyote bird, AKA snake bird and water turkey, is associated with the Native American Church and the ritual use of peyote there by the church members. The expansion of the Native American Church to many regions has also brought about the widespread of the use of the peyote bird as a symbol by many Native American artists regardless of their tribal affiliation or geographical location.

Native American Church Symbol - Peyote Bird

The shape of portions of the peyote bird correspond to portions of the Native American Church ceremonies:

the head shaped like the rattle used in the ceremonies

the wings outspread like the ceremonial altar

the fan-like lower body like the tipi where the services are held.

Hand carved and hand painted Peyote Bird Necklace by Lonny Cloud

Chip inlay is one of the most popular ways to depict the peyote bird. Chip inlay utilizes small pieces of stone chips left over from use in other projects. Therefore, since the most common stones used in Southwestern Native American jewelry are turquoise and coral, those are the traditional colors used in almost all chip inlay.

Navajo Sterling Silver and Chip Inlay Peyote Bird Pin Pendant

I am not familiar with any symbolism of the colors specifically but just that turquoise and coral were available, made a good contrast to each other (like fire and ice), so have been used that way for a long time.

Share

Native American Sterling Silver and Inlay Pins

Ways to Wear a Pin

Native American Pin Sampler

The Native American pin is a traditional piece of jewelry worn with great pride on a broadcloth or heavy velvet shirt.

Zuni Cluster Pin

The cluster pins are probably one of the oldest Native American stone pin styles.

Customary places to wear a pin include: on the lapel of a jacket or blazer, on a larger shirt collar, at the neck over the top of the top button or on a turtleneck, on the front of a shirt on one side or the other above the breast, on a sash, and in conjunction with a scarf at the neck.

But there are many other ways to use pins.

To make pins more versatile, many Native American artists add a loop or Shepherd’s Hook on the back so the pin can double as a pendant. The beauty of a Shepherd’s Hook is that it can be opened up to fit over large beads while a loop has a fixed size.

Native American Pin Pendant Sampler

Pin Pendant with Shepherd's Hook

Pin Pendant with Loop

But even if a pin does not have a pendant loop or hook, if the pin in mounted vertically on the back of the pin so the pin would hang upright, you may be able to loop a chain or collar through the pin or fasten the pin to a sterling silver bead or stone necklace.

Navajo Dragonfly Pin with vertical pin that can be fastened on Navajo Pearls

Beyond that, the larger pins make wonderful winter coat pins and they can be used to fasten a winter scarf in place or as an embellishment any where along the scarf including at the very bottom of the scarf kind of as an small anchor weight !

Many designer purses have fobs and dangles as their signature so why not fasten a pin on a strip of leather or cloth to make your own personal statement.

Native American Pawn Pin Sampler

If your bag is fabric, you could attach a pin right onto the front of your purse.

If you are a hat wearer, a pin can change the look of a hat in an instant. This works just as nicely on a felt fedora or western hat as it does on you winter knit cap.

Native American Horse Pin Sampler

What other great ideas do you have for wearing pins?

Share