Book Look: Southwestern Indian Rings by Paula A. Baxter

Like Paula Baxter states in her Dedication, I never feel “fully dressed without wearing at least one Navajo or Pueblo ring.”

In my case, sometimes I just have to wear more !  Being a Native American ring aficionado, I found this book an interesting reference.

In over 350 color photographs (taken by her husband Barry Katzen), Paula shows historic and contemporary rings made by Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, Santo Domingo artists and more.  The photos here in my article are not from Paula Baxter’s book – they are photos of my personal rings and some from the store where I work.

Unmarked vintage turquoise – likely Navajo

 

 

 

 

Coral by Rose Castillo Draper, Navajo

 

 

Larry Pooyouma, Hopi

Sidney Sekakuku Jr. – Hopi

Richard and Geneva Terrazas, Zuni

Morris and Sadie Laahte, Zuni

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contents of the Book

The Design and Appeal of Southwestern Indian Rings

Materials and Methods of Ring Construction

Historical Rings: Pre-Contact to 1930

Vintage Rings, 1930-1979: The Age of Experimentation

Master Innovator

Artistic Adornment: 1980 to Present

It is in the Master Innovator section that she shows and discusses work by Dan Simplicio, Fred Peshlakai, Lee Yazzie, Charles Loloma, Jesse Monongya, Kenneth Begay and others.

Contemporary artists include Sonwai and Arland Ben to mention just a few.

Besides displaying rings in the customary silver and turquoise, there are a number of rings showing other materials including variscite, pink coral, sugilite, petrified wood, ironwood, fossilized ivory, opal, jade, azurite, fire agate as well as many other agates, jasper, tortoise shell and more.

Jasper

White Buffalo Stone by Freddy Charley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother of Pearl by Rose Castillo Draper, Navajo

Lapis by Navajo Bennie Ration

 

Natural Royston Turquoise by Navajo Walter Vandever

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paula

 

 

 

 

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