Our gallery offers fine, authentic jewelry and art from Native American artists. This special group of talented men and women are comprised of well-known established artists and emerging talents who are destined to join the ranks of the award-winners we represent. Many pieces in the gallery collection are one-of-a-kind originals.
Native jewelry and art have existed as a form of adornment and expression for thousands of years. Detailed studies of historic sites have provided important examples of Indian beads, bracelets, pottery and rock art created long ago. It is not surprising that some of this early work has greatly influenced today’s contemporary Native American artists. Their creative efforts, often present and preserve a visual balance between early tradition and current-day innovation.
Although many kinds of Indian jewelry have been created and worn for centuries, It was only in the mid to late nineteenth century that American Indians learned silverwork. It started with the Navajo people and spread to southwestern pueblo groups. Soon this jewelry was sought by tourists as keepsakes and a reminder of their travels.
Bead making was first done using very simple hand tools. Today, drills and grinders are used to maintain consistent shape and quality while expediting the time consuming process. Still, a steady hand and keen eye are necessary for the many hours required to make a necklace of beautiful matching beads of shell or stone.
Our fetish carvings are from Zuni Pueblo. The early fetishes were found objects that simply resembled an animal or other being. Sometimes plain, informal carving would be added to enhance the realism in these pieces. With the advent of better tools, work that was once created entirely by hand has become more realistic and finely detailed. Local materials are now supplemented by rocks and other materials from around the world. Carvings that were first created for personal or religious reasons are now widely sought after as collectable art.
Early pottery was created as utilitarian ware for storage and transport purposes. But even historic pieces were decorated with symbols meaningful to the potter’s tribal group. Native potters today continue to create traditional works or “pull out the stops” and embellish pieces with contemporary designs, even pop art. Good work is hand coiled and often decorated with natural pigments. Many artists still fire outside, as has been the tradition for centuries.
With all Native American jewelry and art, tradition and culture are evident to the observer who understands what to look for. That is what makes these creations so unique and special.