A complete guide to Native American techniques for making jewelry

Posted by Indian Traders on October 10th, 2018

This exquisite Navajo bracelet was designed by Harold Becenti. This heavy silver bracelet features thirteen natural turquoise, rectangular cut stones. Each stone is set in a sterling silver bezel with textured accents and a sterling silver band with an antiquated finish.

Native American turquoise jewelry is unique, elegant and simple. It has close ties with the natural world. The techniques used to make the jewelry have been fascinating people from the western world for years. The jewelry is so balanced and refined without resorting to high-end smithing.

The uniqueness of Indian art

Many western people cannot tell the reason why the jewelry from Native American artists is unique. The western people have only known America for a few centuries but the main fact is that civilization has been in America for millennia. The history of the Native Americans is fascinating, diverse, and rich. You must embrace the diversity for you to understand why their jewelry is so unique. They can make necklaces from shells, bracelets from silver and even exquisite turquoise creations. They have been known for making ornamental pieces. In short, the jewelry made by Native Americans is stunningly beautiful and each piece tells a story.


This is a common technique for making jewelry among Native Americans although this technique is relatively new. The local Native Americans learned to work with metal from the Spanish who came to Arizona and Mexico in the middle of the sixteenth century.

Native Americans learnt because they used to work for the Spanish metalsmiths. They grasped the methods used in crafting jewelry from the locally-mined turquoise. They ended up creating the amazing jewelry of the Navajo that is now just one aspect of Native American jewelry

Some of the early jewelry created by the Native Americans was influenced by the Europeans. They got the inspiration from buttons, belt buckles, knives, and horseshoes. They then blended the images with their own culture.

Amazing silver creations

Native Americans used the Tufa casting method and the sand casting method to cast silver. The two methods require a great deal of labor and skill. The methods are very delicate and this means that the jewelry cannot be mass produced.

Sand casting

This method of casting silver involves creating a reverse mold where sand is mixed with oil. The mold is then removed and molten silver is then poured into the imprint to make the new piece. These molds are then destroyed after every use and this result into unique creations every time.

Tufa casting

This type of casting derives its name from a soft volcanic rock. The rock is used by Native Americans to carve the shape of the piece. This type of casting makes the jewels with unique texture because the stone is not smooth. The stone is relatively sensitive and it degrades after casting each piece. This means that every piece of jewelry is unique because the mold is destroyed after creating every piece of jewelry.

Design techniques

Native American Silver jewelry goes through a range of overlay stamping to give it its unique design.

Creating Native American turquoise jewelry takes time and the process creates unique pieces of jewelry. This is the main reason why the jewelry is relatively expensive and it is very popular. There are only a few pieces on the market and to get them you must contact the authentic artisans.

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Indian Traders
Joined: September 12th, 2018
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