Category Archives: Native American Jewelry

Articles about Native American Jewelry and the artists who create it.

Dine - Navajo Sweat Lodge c1907-1920

Native American Culture – Sweat Lodges

The sweat lodge is an important cultural tradition for some Native American nations. Used for ceremonial purposes, it is a type of sauna that is valuable for both spiritual and physical purification, as well as used for social and cultural purposes.

Traditionally, a Native American sweat lodge uses heat to detoxify the body by forcing it to sweat out impurities and toxins, also stimulating circulation of blood, and even triggering spiritual insight and visions. Continue reading

Alaska Natives – are they American Indians?

Did you know that Alaska is the state with the highest Native population in the USA?

According to the 2018 US Census, 15% of the general population in Alaska is Alaska Native, rising to almost 20% when American Indians are included in the count. Native peoples comprise 12% of the total population of Anchorage. There are also a significant number of Alaska Natives who live outside the state. This is a young population, with a median age of 27 years. But who are the Alaska Natives? And what is the difference between an American Indian and an Alaska Native? Continue reading

Native American Headdresses – Sacred to Culture

The stereotypical image of the American Indian is of an imposing native man wearing a feathered headdress or warbonnet. This is how all Native Americans have long been depicted in movies, television, and non-native artworks, and the idea that all, or even most, American Indians wore these warbonnets, is inaccurate.

Contrary to popular belief, the full-feathered warbonnet headdress was not worn at all by most tribes, though it was authentic to a few. There are several types of headgear that were traditionally worn by numerous tribal nations. Continue reading

Feather header

Native American Feather Symbolism

Natural symbolism is very important in Native American culture, and the feather is a very powerful symbol for many tribal nations. Feathers are widely believed among North American Indians to signify the connection between The Creator, the owner of the feather, and the bird from whom the feather came. Deeply revered, the feather symbolizes high honor, power, wisdom, trust, strength, and freedom. As such, feathers are seen as gifts from the sky. They often feature in articles like Native American bracelets, blankets and throws, and art. Continue reading

Hamatsa

Native American Shamanism

Native American spirituality is interwoven through every aspect of life, and despite diversity between ritual, ceremony, and details of beliefs between the different groups (e.g. Pueblo Indians, Plains Indians, Northeast Woodland Tribes, etc), all share a core belief in The Great Spirit, animism, and the natural force in everything. For the North American Indians, spirituality is based on nature, ethics, morals, and the intrinsic interrelation between all things. These beliefs are often depicted or honored in Native American jewelry, art, and blanket design.

Continue reading

Nakoaktok Dancers

Native American Spirituality Part 1

Much of the design of Native American blankets and throws, as well as items like Hopi Indian jewelry, is inspired by American Indian legend. The Native Americans are known to be very spiritual people – but do they follow a religion? And how does spirituality differ between tribes?

Just like every other culture on Earth, the Native Americans have their own belief systems and religious rituals… Continue reading

Apache Bride

Native American Wedding Customs Part 1

Just like in other important areas of life, there are numerous traditional Native American customs attached to weddings. Some of these are incorporated into wedding ceremonies to this day. From Native American jewelry in a modern wedding to wedding vases and traditional apparel, these customs differ by tribe but tend to be centered around nature and the matrilineal line. Continue reading

Cheyenne Girl, Oklahoma, early 1900s

Native American Beadwork

One art form for which Native Americans of the USA, Canada, and Central America are most widely renowned is beadwork. This beautiful craft is highly collectible and has been at the forefront of tribal trade for thousands of years. Everything from knife sheaths to moccasins, clothing to papooses, and headbands to horse adornments could be adorned with beadwork or quillwork. Continue reading