Native American Pin Vest

In days gone by, small to medium pins were commonly worn on blazer lapels, sweaters, coats, jackets, scarves. clutch purses and hats…………pins were a fashion staple.

See the slide show below for samples of classic Navajo pins.

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A brooch is a large decorative piece of jewelry pinned to a sweater or dress to complete and outfit and make a bold statement. Large grandmother pins can be thought of as a brooch.

 

Native American artists have made many styles of pins over the years and continue to do so today.  They range in size from tie tacks and hat pins all the way up to large petit point pins and employ all types of animals, symbols and designs.

See the slide show below for samples of Zuni, Hopi and Navajo symbols.

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Although I have written about ways to use pins in previous blog posts, truth be told, I rarely use pins unless it is as a pendant, using a pin-to-pendant converter.

See these articles:

Pins Make a Comeback

Native American Pins 

Native American Pins Beautify Handbags

Like many Native American jewelry aficionados, I have accumulated quite a few pins and rather than just look at them in a drawer or box, I decided to use a denim vest to display some of them.

See the slide show below for examples of animal pins.

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Butterfly pins are popular by both Zuni and Navajo artists.

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Cluster and grandmother pins are made by both Zuni and Navajo artists.

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Paula

Book Look: Zuni Fetishes and Carvings by Kent McManis

We have many fetish reference books in the store but the one I reach for first is “Zuni Fetishes and Carvings” by Kent McManis.

There is a first edition (left) and second edition (right)

The first 37 pages are devoted to “The Power of the Fetish” and discuss the symbolism and usage of the various fetishes. The section is organized by animals and human forms: owls, badgers, maidens to mention just a few.

Claudia Peina – Zuni
Warrior Maiden Carving

The next 34 pages discuss the various materials the Zuni artists use in carving and decorating their fetishes.

Emery Boone – Zuni
Horse Fetish Carving of Pipestone with inlay

The next few pages discuss the art of carving.

Antler carving of eagle taking rabbit

The next 55 pages are devoted to the Zuni carving families telling a brief history of the family. Each family section includes a detailed family tree. There are also examples of pieces made by various members of each family.

An ammonite bear by the Laiwakete family.

The book closes with a brief guide to collecting, indexes and so on.  See the slide show below of various buffalo fetish carvings.

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This is a valuable book for the Zuni fetish collector.

Paula

Sadly we lost our mentor and friend Kent McManis earlier this year. His passion lives on and he is held in high regard.

Native American Pins Beautify Handbags

If you are like me and have been a Native American jewelry aficionado for years, you likely have a drawer full of beautiful pins – in my case they are Navajo, Hopi, Zuni and Lakota pins that haven’t seen the light of day for a while.

I do wear a pin on a shirt every now and then but they really need to be showcased more often.

One way to feature a large pin is solo on a special handbag. Here is a gorgeous 3″ x 2 1/4″ vintage pin on a stunning Estellon bag from France (the clutch was a gift from a dear friend in Paris and I had the perfect large pin for it!).

Below are a few large pins that would be perfect for solo use on a handbag.

Another way to showcase a large group is to round up all your horses and pin them onto a fabric bag.

This incredibly cool denim handbag was made from a pair of Wrangler jeans and just cries out for horse pins !  Alright, maybe I overloaded it, but nobody wanted to be left out!

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Here are some horse pins like the ones I have on my bag. Click to see more.

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Happy Pinning !! Paula

What is a Ketoh, Bowguard (Bow Guard) or Wrist Guard?

 

When shooting a bow, depending on the bow but more importantly, the anatomy, musculature and skill of the archer, it is possible for the bow string to contact the inside of the arm that is holding the bow.

Examples of various archers to illustrate the above point.

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When the bow string contacts the inside of the arm, it results in “string slap”. Here are some examples of the after effects of “string slap”. The location of the injury will vary depending on the person and the bow.

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To protect the inner arm from string slap, arms guards can be used. They can be full length or partial. Partial arm guards are usually centered on the inner forearm (bow guard) or at the wrist (wrist guard).

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Native Americans were skilled with their bows but with the frequent use for hunting and protection, in all types of weather, in variety of positions and when fatigued, it is easy to see why bow guards and wrist guards were used. At first they were just wide strips of the heaviest hide leather. Later other stiff materials such as metal were added.

Navajo began making bowguards are early as 1895; some say earlier.  The Navajo bowguard is called a ketoh. It consists of a metal plate affixed to a leather wrist or arm piece.

The metal plate is either wrought or cast.

A wrought piece is one that has been made from metal either cold (no heat) or using a fire (forge) and hand tools. The term wought is most often used to describe the shaping, altering and molding of various metals using a hammer. In the case of Navajo silver work, this often includes stamping and repousse work. (Repousse is a method of forming a pattern on metal by stamping, hammering or pressing a design from the back to produce a three-dimensional bas-relief surface on the front.)

Indian Silverwork of the Southwest, Illustrated Volume One Harry P. Mera

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See the slide show below for examples of modern wrought pieces.

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A cast piece is one that has been made using a mold and molten metal. Early cast pieces were sand cast. Today they are usually tufa cast. Read more about casting in my previous post Native American Cast Jewelry.

Indian Silverwork of the Southwest, Illustrated Volume One Harry P. Mera

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See the slide show below for examples of modern cast pieces.

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Following are some more historical examples of bow guards from this book.

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Today decorated ketohs and Plains beaded wrist guards are mainly worn for ceremonial and social occasions, including dancing at pow wows. See the slide show below for examples of modern beaded Lakota wrist guards.

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There has been a recent surge in popularity of bow guards as a jewelry item including smaller ketohs for women. See the photo group below for examples of womens’ ketohs.

Following is a slide show that that show the various ways ketohs can be worn. The sky is the limit as to where you position your ketoh and how you tie it on.

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Paula

What is a Slave Bracelet and is it Native American?

The term slave bracelet refers to a style of jewelry that has a chain or other attachment from the bracelet to one or more finger rings. Commonly there is a central piece (island or hand connector) between the ring and bracelet that rests on the back of the hand. 

 

This fashion originated in Africa and is associated with India – harems, belly dancers and the like. The design was likely adopted by Native Americans for tourists after the bracelets became popular in the 1920s American flapper culture.

In spite of the negative connotation of the word slave and its various meanings, the style continues to be popular and has no other name that I am aware of.

Paula

 

Old Bee Stamp on Vintage Navajo Jewelry

This bracelet, likely from 1920s- 1940s (per some learned colleagues) has a distinctive bee stamp on it.

This stamp has been linked to some very old jewelry but so far I have not been able to pin down who might have made this stamp or who used it.

If you have any information on the bee stamp, I’d love to know.

Thanks, Paula

How Can I Tell My Ring Size?

Hi Paula,

I love the pinky ring size 3 1/2 but how can I tell my ring size?

Size 3 1/2 ring by Benson Ration

Karen

Hi Karen,

The best way is to take a ring that fits well to a jeweler and have them measure it on their ring sizer.

Measuring on a ring sizer

Alternatively, you can measure your finger and use the chart on our website to find the proper ring size. (I’ve posted the chart below.)

Ernest Shirley

Horse Training, Horse Care, and Riding Books and Videos from Cherry Hill at www.horsekeeping.com

A good way to find your comfortable ring size is to find a ring that fits and measure its inside diameter, the distance across the center of the opening. Then find that measurement in the left column of the chart below and follow that row to the right to see your ring size. You could also measure your finger’s circumference with a cloth tape measure or string and then measure that with a ruler and compare it to inside circumference in the table. Also, most jewelers have a set of sizing rings that you can slip on your fingers to find your ring size. Just as with bracelets, if you are buying a WIDE ring, you will need to buy a little bit bigger ring than you would if you were buying a ring with a narrow band.

Ring Size Chart

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Inside
Dia.
inches
Inside
Dia.
mm
Inside
Circum.
inches
Inside
Circum.
mm
Number Sizes:
US/Canada
Letter Sizes:
British, Irish,
Australian
Japanese Swiss
0.458 11.6 1.438 36.5 0
0.466 11.8 1.463 37.2 1/4
0.474 12.0 1.488 37.8 1/2 A
0.482 12.2 1.513 38.4 3/4 A 1/2
0.490 12.4 1.539 39.1 1 B 1
0.498 12.6 1.564 39.7 1 1/4 B 1/2
0.506 12.9 1.589 40.4 1 1/2 C
0.514 13.1 1.614 41.0 1 3/4 C 1/2
0.522 13.3 1.639 41.6 2 D 2 1.50
0.530 13.5 1.664 42.3 2 1/4 D 1/2
0.538 13.7 1.689 42.9 2 1/2 E 3 2.75
0.546 13.9 1.714 43.5 2 3/4 E 1/2
0.554 14.1 1.740 44.2 3 F 4 4.00
0.562 14.3 1.765 44.8 3 1/4 F 1/2 5 5.25
0.570 14.5 1.790 45.5 3 1/2 G
0.578 14.7 1.815 46.1 3 3/4 G 1/2 6 6.50
0.586 14.9 1.840 46.7 4 7
0.594 15.1 1.865 47.4 4 1/4 H 1/2 7.75
0.602 15.3 1.890 48.0 4 1/2 8
0.610 15.5 1.915 48.7 4 3/4 J 9.00
0.618 15.7 1.941 49.3 5 J 1/2 9
0.626 15.9 1.966 49.9 5 1/4 K 10.00
0.634 16.1 1.991 50.6 5 1/2 K 1/2 10
0.642 16.3 2.016 51.2 5 3/4 L 11.75
0.650 16.5 2.041 51.8 6 L 1/2 11 12.75
0.658 16.7 2.066 52.5 6 1/4 12
0.666 16.9 2.091 53.1 6 1/2 M 1/2 13 14.00
0.674 17.1 2.116 53.8 6 3/4 N
0.682 17.3 2.141 54.4 7 N 1/2 14 15.25
0.690 17.5 2.167 55.0 7 1/4
0.698 17.7 2.192 55.7 7 1/2 O 1/2 15 16.50
0.706 17.9 2.217 56.3 7 3/4
0.714 18.1 2.242 56.9 8 P 1/2 16 17.75
0.722 18.3 2.267 57.6 8 1/4
0.730 18.5 2.292 58.2 8 1/2 Q 1/2 17
0.738 18.7 2.317 58.9 8 3/4 R 19
0.746 18.9 2.342 59.5 9 R 1/2 18
0.754 19.2 2.368 60.1 9 1/4 S 20.25
0.762 19.4 2.393 60.8 9 1/2 S 1/2 19
0.770 19.6 2.418 61.4 9 3/4 T 21.5
0.778 19.8 2.443 62.1 10 T 1/2 20
0.786 20.0 2.468 62.7 10 1/4 U 21
0.794 20.2 2.493 63.3 10 1/2 U 1/2 22 22.75
0.802 20.4 2.518 64.0 10 3/4 V
0.810 20.6 2.543 64.6 11 V 1/2 23
0.818 20.8 2.569 65.2 11 1/4 W 25
0.826 21.0 2.594 65.9 11 1/2 W 1/2 24
0.834 21.2 2.619 66.5 11 3/4 X
0.842 21.4 2.644 67.2 12 X 1/2 25 27.50
0.850 21.6 2.669 67.8 12 1/4
0.858 21.8 2.694 68.4 12 1/2 Z 26 28.75
0.866 22.0 2.719 69.1 12 3/4 Z 1/2
0.874 22.2 2.744 69.7 13 27
0.882 22.4 2.769 70.3 13 1/4 Z1
0.890 22.6 2.795 71.0 13 1/2
0.898 22.8 2.820 71.6 13 3/4 Z2
0.906 23.0 2.845 72.3 14 Z3
0.914 23.2 2.870 72.9 14 1/4
0.922 23.4 2.895 73.5 14 1/2 Z4
0.930 23.6 2.920 74.2 14 3/4
0.938 23.8 2.945 74.8 15
0.946 24.0 2.970 75.4 15 1/4
0.954 24.2 2.996 76.1 15 1/2
0.962 24.4 3.021 76.7 15 3/4
0.970 24.6 3.046 77.4 16

Paula

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