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

Serpentine used in Native American Fetish Carvings

When we buy Zuni and Navajo fetish carvings and aren’t positive about the stone used, we ask and are often told “serpentine”. You might think that is a catch-all category but when you really look into it, you’ll find that serpentine comes in a wide variety of colors. It is one of the oldest stones used for carving, as early as prehistoric times.

Serpentine can range from green to pink and everything in between including tan, brown, red, black, yellow, gray and more.

A very popular and traditional stone “fish rock” is actually serpentine. It is a light stone usually with small splotches and veining.  Here are some examples of fish rock serpentine.

FH261-fishrock-shack-2

FC306-badger-fishrock-yazzie-3

Ricolite is another serpentine that is dark green with grey or light green bands.F240-frog-serpentine-lementino-1

F238-frog-serpentine-poncho-1

Here are some other examples of serpentine.

FT245-buffalo-serpentine-bird-laiwakete-1

FC276-lion-serpentine-davis-1

FC287-coyote-serpentine-siutza-1

F282-lizard-kallestewa-1

Serpentine is widespread in California where it is the state rock. Here is a photo of serpentine along a beach.

bigserpentine800To read more about serpentine and see more examples, click here.

Here is an interesting glossary Gemstone Terminology

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However, if you have a new question, please contact us through our website.

Mole Tracks Under the Snow

I hiked across the pastures yesterday taking advantage of the warm weather.

The snow has melted and revealed mole tracks on the top of the ground where the moles were busy tunneling under the snow.

Mole Tracks Revealed After the Snow Melts

Jet Mole Fetish Carving by David Yazzie, Navajo

The mole is one of the guardians of the six directions.  The mole guards the lower regions of the earth.

Mole – The Protector of the Underworld and Crops, Awareness, Introspection


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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Serpentine – A Very Popular Stone for Native American Fetish Carvings

Serpentine
serpentine horse carvingThe state rock of California, serpentine is a gemrock with wide diversity in color and character, from green to yellow, with browns, black and whites. It can be bi-colored, streaked, mottled, banded or spotted and it has a slippery, snake-like surface (hence the name). It is composed of several minerals including minor amounts of chrysotile a somewhat benign form of asbestos.

In the rock industry the scientific term “marble” is also applied to serpentine rocks that can be polished to a high shine. But , technically, “marble” and “serpentine” are two different rocks. Scientific terms (in this case “marble”) can have a different meaning in industry. Dark green serpentine “marble” is frequently referred to as verde antique.

It is said to help one find inner peace, calmness, and a long life; instills in the bearer a respect for the elderly and wards off snake bites.

Although this bear looks like he was carved from wood, he is a serpentine bear!

Serpentine Bear Fetish by Zuni Carver Travis Panteah

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Native American Artifacts – Medicine Bag of Deceased

How is a medicine bag properly laid to rest after the owner has passed?

 

Apache Horse Spirit Medicine Bag by Cynthia Whitehawk

Apache Horse Spirit Medicine Bag by Cynthia Whitehawk

 

Hello,

If the deceased was not Native American, it is a highly personal matter. The medicine bag and/or its contents could be buried with the deceased or passed along to a family member or friend if that is the owner’s intended desire or designation.

If the deceased was a Native American, it would be best to contact an elder, a medicine man, a shaman or healer from the tribe to learn the proper customs for the treatment of the medicine bag and its contents.

 

Although it is not customary for a Native American to be buried with his riches, it is customary to bury his medicine bag or totem with him unless he wills them away. A totem is an animal spirit that a person chooses (or the totem chooses the person) as an ally through life, so it is in death. A totem item, such as a carved stone fetish of the animal, might be included in the medicine bag.

Zuni Raven Carved Fetish Totem

Zuni Raven Carved Fetish Totem

In addition, some tribes bury food (a small sack of corn or beans), water, possibly tobacco and hunting tools, such as a bow, arrow and knife with the deceased for his journey.


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