Southwestern native jewelry has been traced back for thousands of years. Archeologists have found ancient jewelry of shell, turquoise, bone and other items. Beauty has no bounds. Today, contemporary Native American jewelers have taken the craft to new heights. Indian jewelry is now seen in the fashion magazines and the most upscale designer boutiques.
Those following the most ancient crafts are the Santo Domingo jewelers, and the Zuni jewelers--shell and turquoise hishi and fetishes. Use of silver came in with the Spanish entering the Southwest, and bringing along their "pieces of eight." In fact, Navajo jewelers were using Mexican silver pesos until after the 1930s.
Our Navajo, Hopi and Zuni jewelry comes direct from the reservations. You'll find authentic, Indian handmade necklaces, bracelets, earrings, belts, rings and chains.
In this section, you will find several well-known artists. Take a look at the Quandelacy and the Quam Zuni fetish necklaces. James and Doris Coriz make reasonably priced turquoise "hishi" style necklaces. Edward Aguilar silver necklaces.
To order, call 1-800-401-1192, or 1-520-529-5545 if you are out of the United States, or go to our
- All sizes are approximate.
Item# J234 -10 -Turquoise Hishi, 10-Stand Necklace, James & Doris Coriz, Santo Domingo.
This is an exceptional piece from a pair of exceptional jewelers. James and Doris are noted for their very small diameter turquoise hishi beads. Here, they have made this necklace with 10 strands of Kingman turquoise, each bead is approximately 7 mm (approx. 4/32") diameter. The necklace is 24" long, and they have added a 3" silver chain extender, so you may wear it in two lengths. This color is on the blue side of blue-green.
Item# J234 - 4 -Turquoise Hishi, 4-Stand Necklace, James & Doris Coriz, Santo Domingo.
James and Doris have made this necklace with 4 strands of Kingman turquoise, using the same colored nugget as they used in the necklace above. Each bead is approximately 7 mm (approx. 4/32") diameter. The necklace is 24" long, and they have added a 3" silver chain extender, so you may wear it in two lengths. This color is on the blue side of blue-green.
Item# J263 -Grandmother's Necklace, Faye Quandelacy, Zuni.
A Grandmother's Necklace is a rather rare find, because they are so difficult to put together. By tradition, the necklace is composed of a collection of fetishes from each of the grandchildren. To make this necklace, Faye collected fetishes from five close relatives. Starting at the top left, bird by Faye, bear with heartline by Andres Quandelacy, turtle by Faye, horse by Georgia Quandelacy (her sister), ear of corn by Faye, badger by Avery Quandelacy, bear by Georgia, large bear with heartline by Stewart Quandelacy (the center-piece), fish by Faye, badger by Avery, squirrel by Faye, beaver by Brian Yunie, frog by Faye, corn maiden by Sandra Quandelacy, and bird by Faye. (Click here to see a larger image with carvers names.)
The center-piece by Stewart Quandelacy is the classic Zuni bear, with heartline. To the Zunis, bears are included in a group of protective animals. More especially, the bear is credited with being a healing fetish. The heartline represents a breath path to the magical power in the animal's heart, thus making the fetish more powerful. It is 26" long.
Price: $850 SOLD.
Item# J256 -Fetish Necklace, Georgia Quandelacy, Zuni.
Georgia, a premier carver, is a member of the Quandelacy family, one of the most famous carving families in the Zuni pueblo. In this necklace, Georgia has used turquoise for all of her fetishes. At the center, this master Zuni carver has featured a bear with heartline, and an eagle in flight. Twenty-six smaller fetishes include doves, badgers, turtles, bears, horses, owls, parrots and a sun. In this two-strand necklace, fetishes are strung between coral hishi beads. One strand is 28", one 32". To see a close-up of the center to this necklace, click here. This necklace set includes turquoise bear earrings, click here to see them.
Price: $1,200 SOLD.
Item# J258 -Fetish Necklace, Georgia Quandelacy, Zuni.
In this classic, Georgia has used various stones for her fetishes. At the center, this master Zuni carver has featured an eagle in flight, and a bear with heartline. Twenty-six smaller fetishes include doves, badgers, turtles, bears, horses, owls, parrots and a sun. In this two-strand necklace, fetishes are strung between coral hishi beads. One strand is 28", one 32". To see a close-up of the center to this necklace, click here. This necklace set includes turquoise bear earrings, click here to see them.
Item# J252 -Fetish Necklace, Stuart Quandelacy, Zuni.
Made of fossilized ivory, Stuart shows three Zuni corn maidens. He has added the Zuni sun symbol to the center corn maiden The necklace is two strands of shell hishi, with stone feature beads. Stuart is a nephew of the Quandelacy sisters, Georgia, Sandra and Faye. He has worked with his aunts in developing his own unique artistic style. He has also selected a unique medium for carving, fossilized ivory, which he uses for most of his fetishes. His mother is also a famous Zuni artist, Amy Wesley, noted for her silver jewelry. Necklace is 26", center corn maiden is 2 1/4" high. For a close-up of the fetishes, click here.
Price: $600 SOLD.
Item# J253 -Fetish Necklace, Stuart Quandelacy, Zuni.
Again, using carved fossilized ivory, Stuart features a Zuni tablita maiden. He has used tiny inlays of coral and turquoise. This maiden is a dancer that appears in a number of the Zuni ceremonies. Necklace is 28", center maiden is 3 3/4" high. For a close-up of the fetish, click here.
Item# J247 -Fetish Necklace, Lena Boone, Zuni.
The center piece of this beautiful necklace is a parrot fetish of turquoise with heavy matrix. For her birds and animals, Lena has used a number of semi-precious stones, including alabaster, lapis, pipe stone, jet, turquoise and onyx. Lena is a member of the Weahkee family, and a granddaughter of Teddy Weahkee. Teddy was one of the most famous Zuni carvers of the last century and head of a large family of carvers. The necklace has 23 fetishes, and is 30" long.
Item# J300 -Direction Set Fetish Necklace, Lena Boone, Zuni.
The Zunis recognize six directions, and they have a specific fetish animal, and a color for each of the directions. When these fetishes are collected together, this is called a "Direction Set." In this necklace, Lena has gone back to what she thinks is the classic style of Zuni fetishes, and made this Direction Set necklace. Lena's animals are strung in an arrangement to be visually pleasing, from the top, down: Eagle, dumortierite; Badger, spiny oyster, Bear, turquoise, Mountain Lion, dolomite; Wolf, mother of pearl; Mole, jet. (In the Zuni hierarchy, the Mountain Lion is north and yellow; the Bear is west and blue; the Badger is south and red, the Wolf is east and white; the Eagle is sky and multicolor; the Mole is earth and black.) The center eagle fetish is Lena's version of a design by her mother, Edna Leki. The necklace is 28" long.
Item# J255 -Fetish Necklace, Lena Boone, Zuni.
Lena has carved these 21 fetishes from fossilized ivory. An owl is the center piece. Fetishes carved are turtles, coyotes, bears, ducks, fishes, badgers, squirrels, frogs, and humming birds. The necklace is made of red coral beads. As a fetish necklace, this is a gem. The necklace has 21 fetishes, and is 30" long. For a close-up of the fetish, click here.
Price: $600 SOLD.
Item# J240 -Fetish Necklace, Leonard & Lavina Kaskalla, Zuni.
In this necklace, the Kaskallas feature stone and shell fetishes of animals and birds. Shell hishi separates them. The Zunis have a strong belief that fetishes will bring them luck, power or protection, as we might believe a lucky penny might. The necklace has 35 fetishes, and is 30" long.
Price: $290 SOLD.
Item# J241 -Fetish Necklace, Leonard & Lavina Kaskalla, Zuni.
In this two-strand necklace, the Kaskallas feature stone and shell fetishes of various animals and birds. Shell hishi separates them. Lavina is a granddaughter of Teddy Weahkee, and Teddy was one of the major carvers in the first half of the 1900s. The family now boasts many famous carvers. Leonard married Lavina, who taught him the art of fetish carving. Together, they have become known for their outstanding carving. The necklace has 60 fetishes, and is 30" long.
Price: $565 SOLD.
Item# J246 -Fetish Necklace, Leonard & Lavina Kaskalla, Zuni.
Here, Leonard and Lavina have produced an outstanding, all turquoise necklace. Turquoise fetishes are very difficult to make, and so not many of them are made. This all-bird necklace has 60 fetishes, separated by tiny turquoise beads, and is 30" long.
Item# J260 -Fetish Necklace, Leonard & Lavina Kaskalla, Zuni.
Item# J262 -Fetish Necklace, Rhonda Quam, Zuni.
Rhonda is a member of the famous carver family, the Quams. In this two-strand necklace, she has used 34 birds and animals, made of pipe stone and coral, alternating. They are separated by shell hishi beads. The necklace is 29" long.
Item# J178 - Silver Bear Fetish Necklace, Carlton Jamon, Zuni.
Carlton has taken the Zuni fetish necklace a "step beyond." He has substituted tiny silver beads for conventional hishi. He has hand made the silver bears and strung them onto this necklace, with a silver bear pendant at the bottom. All of this is sterling. We think Carlton's artistry and craftsmanship is extra ordinary. These necklaces are unique and beautiful. The length is 26", and Carlton has fashioned a 6" extension at the top, so the length is variable from 26" to 32".
Price: $350 SOLD.
Item# J276 -Beaded Necklace, Rena Charles.
Who says you can't wear a rug? This eye-catching beaded necklace by Rena Charles features a Ganado pattern. In the summer time, Rena can be found selling her necklaces to visitors in Canyon de Chelly, near Chinle, AZ.
28" in length by 1 1/2" wide.
Price: $225 SOLD.
Item# J277 -Beaded Necklace, Rena Charles.
Here, Rena features the tree-of-life pictorial textile pattern, actually birds sitting on a sacred corn stalk, which "grows" out of a Navajo wedding basket. Rena is one of a few artists that have adapted the Navajo rug styles to these beaded necklaces. They have become quite popular.
28" in length by 1 1/2" wide.
Price: $225 SOLD.
Zuni Inlay-Overlay Artistry
Zuni jewelers have long been noted for their intricate designs with stone and shell. The "overlay-inlay" technique shown here combines the art of the silversmith and the lapidary artist. There is some debate about who "invented" this style. However, one version is that Dennis Edaakie made up the design at the request of a Gallup trader, and went on to win a first place ribbon for this piece in the 1970 Gallup Ceremonial. The style has since become very popular.
Described as "overlay-inlay," this sounds like double-speak. In some ways it is similar to Hopi overlay work. The jeweler prepares a simple backing of sheet-silver, then prepares a second piece of the same size and shape. The design is cut out of the second piece with a fine jeweler's saw. The second piece, with the designs, is then "sweat" soldered onto the plain piece. In Hopi work, the design within the cutout area is enhanced by making it a contrast, either texturing it or oxidizing it. In the Zuni pieces, relying on their lapidary expertise, the design is made colorful by inlaying stone and shell pieces within the cutout area. As you can imagine, this requires very precise fitting. The result is a beautiful surface of silver and stones.
Item# J173 - Humming Bird Pendant/Pin, Albert & Dolly Banteah, Zuni.
These Zuni jewelers have fashioned this piece featuring a humming bird of Abalone shell, coral and mother of pearl. The intricate border inlay features lapis with accents of coral and turquoise. As with many pieces of overlay-inlay, there is a small, silver loop at the top, back of the piece so it can be hung from a chain for showing as a pendant. Additionally, a pin with safety catch is across the back, so it can be worn as a pin. This is a handsome pendant or pin.
Size: 1 5/8" diameter.
Price: $300 SOLD.
Item# J174 - Rainbow Man Pendant/Pin, Rudell & Nancy Laconsello, Zuni.
The rainbow man is a symbol of rain and, hence, life for the Zuni farmer. Rainbow man is also a guardian, and here is guarding the corn plant, another symbol of life. Rudy and Nancy have used a number of semi-precious stones for the rainbow man, surrounded by a border of turquoise. As with many pieces of overlay-inlay, there is a small, silver loop at the top, back of the piece so it can be hung from a chain and worn as a pendant. Additionally, a pin with safety catch is across the back, so it can be worn as a pin.
Size: 1 7/8" diameter.
Price: $360 SOLD.
Item# J171 - Cardinal Pendant/Pin, Rudell & Nancy Laconsello, Zuni.
Here Rudy and Nancy have featured the Cardinal in red coral. As with many pieces of overlay-inlay, there is a small, silver loop at the top, back of the piece so it can be hung from a chain for showing as a pendant. Additionally, a pin with safety catch is across the back, so it can be worn as a pin.
Size: 1 1/2" diameter.
Price: $200 SOLD.
Item# J220 - Cardinal Earrings, Sanford Edaakie, Zuni.
Sanford is one of three sons of Dennis Edaakie; all three sons are jewelers. (Dennis, mentioned above, is credited as the "inventor" of the overlay-inlay technique.) Sanford features the cardinal, on these drop earrings. They make a nice companion for the cardinal pendant/ pin, above. The top, back has a pin for pierced ears.
Size: 2" drop.
Price: $110 SOLD.
Item# J221 - Quail Earrings, Sanford Edaakie, Zuni.
To order, call 1-800-401-1192, 1-520-721-8757 if you are out of the United States, or go to our
- All dimensions are approximate. -
- Recommended reading - Check Amazon.com. They stock most of these titles.
- American Indian Jewelry, 1,200 Artist Biographies I, by Gregory Schaaf, CIAC Press, $110 (hard-back);
- Navajo Jewelry, A Legacy of Silver and Stone, by Lois Jacka, Northland Publishing, $14.95 (paper);
- The Beauty of Hopi Jewelry, by Theda Bassman, $14.95 (paper);
- Zuni Jewelry, by Theda Bassman, $12.95 (paper);
- Hallmarks of the Southwest, by Barton Wright, $45.00 (cloth);