Learning About Native American Handmade Jewelry

Posted by Sunwest Silver on Jul 5, 2017 2:33:00 PM

Hi my name is Valerie Calabaza and I work with Sunwest Silver in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I’m here today to show you various types of Native American, traditional and contemporary pieces that you can have in your collection.

If you’re a person that’s artsy and loves the New Mexico scenery or the Southwest paintings, you can have it in your jewelry. These pieces are hand cut turquoise stones from Carico Lake Turquoise to the Lapis. We have Lapis. We have Carico Lake in these pieces and also some Royston and also some of the coral. In the pendant you'll get a picture with Dunn and Stone and strong in silver and this is the Shiprock Mountain in Shiprock, New Mexico with the night sky. You see the falling star, the meteorite going through the sky. I mean very beautiful even down to the inlaid bale. You can add various beads to this type or you can wear with a silver chain or silver beads and if you want something to match on your wrist we also carry hand cut, hand inlaid beautiful bracelets that remind me of the beautiful Southwestern paintings that are done here in New Mexico. So this is a great combination and also to wear by itself.

If you like to wear beads, you can also throw on some beads to accent the pendant or even you can take off the beads and do a different type of stand of silver or solid turquoise. There's many ways that you can wear these pieces. And not only that, like if you like something just simple you can wear every day, I love something like this, just the Lapis. This is a beautiful contemporary piece done in Lapis with a nice high polish to it. And everyday bracelets, these are something you can wear every day, beautiful stone in these pieces, half Sleeping Beauty. This you can wear every day or you can also dress these pieces up too if you want to go out and throw something really nice on. Coral, I would pick something like this also and not only that the coral is used on babies so it keeps away evil from the babies in some New Mexican cultures is what they believe. So cral has a very very special meaning to New Mexicans and it's also beautiful and it’s very rare to find the high-grade coral because Mediterranean coral is now protected so when you see a piece of coral I add it to my collection.

We have some beautiful inlaid high-grade collector pieces. If you're a high grade collector person and want these in your collection this is a great piece to add and should have. We also like to wear crosses in New Mexico and probably many other places in the world also. So if you're a cross collector, I mean you can find something like this that would turn into a brooch turn into a pendant, this is what you're looking at and not only that when you look at the artwork you can see how many layers of sterling silver is used in this piece. So you see some oxidation done in the back but not only that you have stamp work done in these pieces and then just looking at the beautiful turquoise pieces that are bezels this is a great piece to have on your... you know you can add this to your scarf, to a jacket. Even to some men like to add them into headband or headbands, their hats. And then here is a very very nice coral earring. This we have is coral three-tier earrings. Again, the Mediterranean coral is protected so it is very hard to find the original coral and these here are my favorites because they're long and dangly. I mean throw this on with the t-shirt, throw on a Levis jacket and there you go out the door. And not only that we have traditional, traditional items that are made with rough turquoise. You have traditional cluster rings which are satin finished. You have a different type of turquoise in the center and you have several different turquoises on the outer part of the ring. Not only that, you can also just throw on this feather on a chain or on a leather cord. If you want something for a male gift, you know give to one of your best friends or something, you can have them wear one of these and not only that see this is high polished stone right in the middle. This is how it starts. This is how it starts out, like this rough piece of turquoise. All these pieces of finish handmade jewelry you are looking at are done with turquoise pieces, Lapis pieces so it does take a lot, a lot of time and you can see the quality in the pieces you choose.

We have rings that are done with O point silver. O point silver, you can tell in your piece, when you pick up the piece it's very very heavy. Some artists like to use O point silver which they melt down and turn into a silver dough. They roll it, roll it, cut it out and then this one here is actually two pieces of silver soldered together. There's stamp work done in this piece. The bezel work is all hand cut and the stars are all hand cut and handmade. You have so many techniques in this style of ring. You have from the twist bezel wire. You have from the stamping. I mean the artist put so much into this beautiful piece and if you like a lot of detail and old traditional style jewelry I would choose something like this.

And this is something that’s done in satin finish and these are beautiful Carico Lake Turquoise stones in this butterfly. Butterflies are beautiful. Butterflies mean changing from one life period to another life period. So if you're going from teenage to adulthood or adulthood into your older golden years this is a beautiful piece to have also or even to collect. Traditionally, Native Americans have the squash blossom in their homes. These are worn traditionally for ceremony purposes and not only that this was created many many years ago when the Spaniards came and their horse used to have the crescent shapes on the size of their horse bridles decorated and that's where this idea came from. Now we just have collected that idea and saying with many pueblo Native Americans and this is what’s worn today in their traditional ceremonies.

My name is Valerie Calabaza and I’m part of the Sunwest Silver family in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ernest Montoya owns the Carico Lake Turquoise mine in Lander County Nevada and if you're ever around in Albuquerque, New Mexico please stop by and meet Mr. Montoya. He is known as the turquoise King which he has a collection from about 40 years. He has over a thousand of Mason jar full of rare turquoise. And not only turquoise, he has coral. He has sodalite, lapis... I mean it is a museum that he has downtown in Albuquerque and love for you to stop by and meet him in person. And not only that, we do carry rough turquoise. We carry cabochons. If you're an artist, I mean we love to meet you because you'll get to top grade rare high grade, we can get finished cuts for you. We can get natural turquoise but we also carry to stabilized which is beautiful and we would love to share with you our knowledge and not only that bring you and come and see where we are located and what we have available.

You can also contact us directly. If you have any questions, 505-243-3781 and that is at Albuquerque, New Mexico. Please if you’re around in New Mexico and you are heading to Santa Fe, New Mexico we are located at 58 Lincoln right on the Plaza and that is Sunwest on the Plaza and we would love to meet you and show you our collection. Thank you.

Topics: Sterling Silver Jewelry, Handmade Jewelry, Native American Jewelry, Southwest Style

Post By Topic

See all

Recent Posts


It's All About the Turquoise  

Since 1972, Sunwest Silver has been All About the Turquoise. We are industry’s leading source for turquoise, silver charms & findings, and finished handmade jewelry created by the Southwest’s finest Native artisans. 

Want to know more about Sunwest Silver? Be an insider!