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Native American Zuni Jewelry

Jewelry made by the Zuni Native American tribe covers a wide variety of styles and designs. The artisans mostly all reside in Zuni, New Mexico, and the main industry for that area is their Native American Zuni jewelry.

The Zunis spent years developing their own styles and distinctive designs. They are well known for making their own inlaid designs, squash blossoms and fetish creations.   Their craftsmanship has been handed down from generation to generation. Zuni artists make some of the most beautiful inlaid jewelry, into which they use multicolored stones with silver running through it. Usually turquoise is the main choice for the bolder stone and semi-precious stones are added with some silver in the formation. Cluster work is another type of jewelry that the Zuni tribe is associated with. This style is characterized by using a series of shaped stones that are set into bezel settings. This cluster work later evolved into the more intricate petit point and needlepoint styles.

The jewelry item that is most often associated with the Zuni tribe is the fetish. This is a small animal carving that is usually worn for ceremonial or religious purposes. When a person wears a fetish it is said that he or she possesses the characteristics of the animal. An eagle might encourage hunting skills or a wolf might provide strength and unity, while a bear might exude strength.  

Among the Zuni artists that reside in Zuni are Andrew Quam, one of the best fetish makers in the world, Charlie and Mary Poncho, who make the most sought after bolo ties, Augustine Panteah, who forms beautiful inlaid mosaic bracelets, Sidney Hoole, who has been in the business for 50 plus years and created the most spectacular needlepoint. Artists like George Chuckee, who has standing orders for his intricate work. His trademark is birds that are sculpted with their heads that are turned ever so slightly. The above names are just a few that we have touched upon. Their skill and craftsmanship is unsurpassed and they all have an abundance of talent.

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