One store owner here in Arizona calls jet a gemstone but I’m almost sure that isn’t correct – can you tell me if I am right or not?
Good question ! Here’s my official answer.
Jet also known as Acoma Jet
Jet is an organic fossil – a solid, durable type of lignite coal that originated from wood.
The term coal means the fossilized remains of ancient organic matter that ranges from bog materials to peat to wood. Jet, however, is the fossilized remains of araucaria (coniferous evergreen) wood specifically.
Therefore jet is not a stone or a mineral. It is fossilized wood.
You’d think jet is black……as in jet black……but actually it is very very dark brown but it appears black.
It is mined around the Acoma Pueblo region of New Mexico, among other places, thus the name Acoma Jet, or Jet for short.
It can be highly polished. Therefore, it is very popular for carving fetishes. Here are some examples of Zuni Fetish carvings from jet.
My wife and I used to travel extensively in the southwest and collected some nice things which brings me to the hair pins that my wife has used for over 30 years and doesn’t know where to look to replace them. We no longer do much traveling so I was glad to find your website. Could you help me pick out some hair pins for my wife’s birthday? She has long hair and wears one pin on each side or one big one at the back.
P.S. Maybe you remember me from when I bought the small bracelets for my grand children which they wear non stop.
Thank you, Eugene
Of course I remember you and the group of children’s bracelets.……hello!
So now you are looking for a gift for your wife? Well, lucky her !
Here are some ideas.
Depending on how thick your wife’s hair is and how much of it she pins back on each side, you could look at some very small barrettes (in matching pairs) that will hold the side wisps out of her eyes. I use these up at the top above my temples just to keep me from constantly pushing my hair our of my eyes.
If your wife likes to wear more of her hair pulled back on the sides almost like tucked behind her ears, you could choose medium barrettes or combs. But not every woman knows how to use hair combs or likes to use them, so you’d want to know that. If she likes barrettes, I’d stick with that.
For when she clips her hair at the back, you can look at a larger spring clip type barrette or a bun holder with pick which is also called a Stick Barrette.
And finally, there are pony tail clasps if your wife ever wears her hair pulled back at the nape of her neck on one hank. There are several sizes of these depending on how thick her hair is.
I hope this gives you some good ideas and don’t hesitate to write for more specific recommendations.
Native American Symbols
Water Bird, Peyote Bird, Thunderbird
The Water Bird is a symbol of the renewal of life, rainy seasons, rivers, distant travel, distant vision & wisdom. It is often also referred to as the Peyote Bird because the Water Bird plays a significant part in the Native American Indian Church Peyote meetings and, in fact, since the early 1900′s has been the symbol of the NAC.
The Peyote/Water Bird is not a Southwest tradition, but one of the Plains Indians. The Peyote Bird is connected with lightning, thunder and visions. Those who dream of the thunder beings will become Heyokas, those who do things backwards, upside down, or opposite. This is a Lakota way of being. It is part of the medicine of the Heyoka to remind us that we should not take ourselves too seriously – that’s why Heyoka is often translated as the “sacred clown”.
The Thunderbird is a cross-cultural symbol of the Southwest, Plains and Pacific Northwest tribes as well as in the non-Native world. Much is written about the origin of the symbol and its significance. It has been suggested by some that the symbol was borrowed by Native American artisans from the white man’s medal dies. Others claim the Thunderbird has always lived in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. There, carved totem poles are often topped with a Thunderbird with outstretched wings. Looking at a Thunderbird, it is easy to see why it symbolizes power, strength and nobility.