Category Archives: Native American Jewelry Blog Category

Native American Jewelry
This category is all about Native American jewelry that has been made and used since prehistoric times. Pre-Anglo contact jewelry ranged from beads made of stone, shells, pottery, carved whale bone and wood. Other materials included bone, teeth, walrus ivory, elk ivories, seeds and copper. Many sizes of glass beads originating in Europe were incorporated into jewelry. This occurred when trade goods became available after the 1600s. Turquoise has long been sacred to all the tribes of the Southwest. Southwestern Tribes learned to work silver from Mexicans trained as silversmiths by the Spanish Colonialists. This is how the beautiful silver and turquoise jewelry associated with Southwest Indians was born. From the 1800s up until modern times, distinct forms of jewelry were developed. This is the jewelry art form associated with the Navajo, Zuni, Hopi and Santo Domingo Pueblo.

On the East Coast and Southern Plains, tribes like the Iroquois, Osage and Kiowa developed silver work as well. This was in a distinctly different style through contact with the French fur trade.

Jewelry has always been a symbol of wealth, status, personal taste and worn to gain attention from the gods. Among the Navajos, they are taught by their mythology to adorn themselves daily with it. Blue stone, black stone, red shell, and/or white shell calls the attention of the gods to themselves bringing blessings. Thus, they developed very large heavy pieces worn by both men and women. As a result, they used these four elements of turquoise, jet or onyx, mother-of-pearl and red coral or red shell. They wear this jewelry daily during all tasks.  Special pieces are added when company arrives, going out publicly and especially for ceremonial purposes.

Navajo Tommy Singer Rainbow Gods Squash Blossom

This Navajo Tommy Singer Rainbow Gods Squash Blossom is absolutely stunning! Its Rainbow Gods are done in silver and elaborated with large turquoise stones and turquoise and coral chip inlay.

Not enough can be said about this Navajo Tommy Singer Rainbow Gods Squash Blossom. It’s stamped on all nine of the rainbow components with the earliest signature of deceased, beloved Navajo silversmith, Tommy Singer. His pieces are highly collectible today as he is considered the Picasso of contemporary Navajo silversmithing. He passed away in a motorcycle accident on his way to a trading post in Utah in May of 2014.

Singer began to work silver early using the inlay technique. Singer’s skill is exhibited here. This piece is hand cut with a jeweler’s saw from heavy sheet silver. A sheet of overlay sterling gives depth to the figures. The rainbow figures are deeply stamped with hand made stamps, one of his techniques. All stones are set in a straight bezel and surrounded by liquid silver drops. The Rainbow Gods are descending to earth for a healing ceremony. They clutch a rattle in one hand and the lighting bolt upon which they travel to earth in the other.

Singer’s squash blossom’s Rainbow Gods all possess an elaborate prayer feather motif on the exterior of the necklace. It gives them more of the traditional squash blossom appearance. The large naja rainbow god carries a bow, rather than a rattle, in his right hand. Well crafted beads are all handmade sterling and show that the piece has been worn and cherished. It is strung with sterling findings on a heavy jewelry chain. Kingman Turquoise makes up the beautiful turquoise nuggets.

This necklace was purchased from the Albuquerque owner who bought it directly from Singer. Large bottom naja equals 4 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ wide. The side squash rainbows measure 3 3/4″ wide x 2? tall. The necklace hangs 17 1/2″ long.