Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Native American jewelry – The Southwest

Native American jewelry – The Southwest
Edited - August 2009

For several years, I have had the fortunate opportunity to be a purchasing agent for http://www.bearlanderstradingco.com/index.html . I have enjoyed the Southwest for the past 51 years and I would like to bring a part of that experience to you. The American Southwest has some of the most unusual and beautiful sites in America. You will find awe in the weather worn walls of the Grand Canyon, (Arizona) and beautiful red sandstone in Zion (Utah). Since earth’s creation, the wind and the water have carved beauty in the landscape, the likes of which no man could duplicate. Valleys so deep, you could fit the tallest skyscraper. With just about every color imaginable, blues, reds, greens, browns and purples scattered though the sides of the cliff walls. You see trees (scrub pine) growing out the side of the canyon walls, hanging on by only 1/2-inch roots. One could question how or why they exist there. There is water running through many of the canyons year round. With paths and trails to be hiked by all ages. For a rock collector, you could fill your pockets until your pants fell down. Or until your back grew so tired from the weight of the backpack filled with magnificent little treasures. No doubt the national park service doesn’t condon filling your pockets or backpack with rocks. But the west is vast and there are many little jagged treasures to be found.

The Mogillion rim is located roughly half way between Phoenix and Flagstaff and is every bit as inspiring as the Grand Canyon. Located near Strawberry (Arizona), overlooking the Mogillion, the rich, thick forest resembles a beautiful dark green carpet. Using your imagination, you can picture many places a cowboy could hide from hostile Indians. Better yet, picture the beauty of vast plateau's and deep gorge's where Indians, Soldiers and Cowboys alike, of the 1700, 1800 and early1900's traveled and made camp. When thinking of the southwest many only picture desert and scorching heat. Not so in this beautiful high country. No doubt the temperature never reaches the low 80's.
When you hear the word Arizona or American southwest, you no longer need to imagine desert, tumble weeds, snakes and unbearable heat. Now picture rich green forests, cool weather and the skies at night filled with so many stars it would take a lifetime to count them all. While watching the stars, you will still hear the howls of the coyote calling to the night sky. In the southwest and Arizona you will still find American Indians, not with bow and arrow in hand, but selling their handcrafted goods at road side rest stops. The American Indians have been crafting jewelry, pottery and carved items for centuries, an art that has been passed down from generation to generation.

While traveling I have purchased handcrafted, Native American jewelry as gifts for my family and friends. I have been intrigued by the fact that Native American Indians have handcrafted jewelry for centuries and are still making their jewelry by hand. In the 1800's a Mexican Silversmith taught the Indians of the southwest how to use silver in their jewelry work. I realized that not everyone could visit and enjoy the Southwest or afford much of the Indian jewelry and handcrafted goods. As many know, handcrafted Indian jewelry can range in price from $2 to as much as $10,000 and more. Fortunately, I have found a wonderful source to supply beautifully handcrafted Indian jewelry from the Southwest, at prices most all of us can afford.

American Indian jewelry is crafted with just about every gemstone imaginable, including everything from Amber, Amethyst, Jasper, Opal, Tiger Eye and of course Turquoise. Turquoise has been mined and used as far back as 5000 B.C. Turquoise jewelry is as popular today as it has been for centuries. Turquoise is said to have many healing properties, which is one of the reasons for its popularity and use in so many cultures, for so many centuries. All gemstones are said to have spiritual and medicinal healing properties. At Bearlanders Trading Co.com we carry a large selection of authentic American Indian jewelry, most of our Indian jewelry consist of many gemstones listed in this article.

Below I have listed many Spiritual meanings of semi-precious gemstones as well as Native American folklore, which have been passed on to me.

Click on any of the gemstones or animal totems to see related gift ideas.

Amber (golden transparent color): This beautiful golden-color stone was once thought to be pieces of the Sun that had fallen to Earth. Amber is actually fossilized resin from extinct pine trees; many pieces of Amber have insects or plants encased. It is thought to relieve sore throats and minor infections.

Amethyst (purple color): Conducts peaceful energy, aids intuition, encourages freedom from addictions.

Aventurine (green in color): Releases anxiety and fear, boosts tranquility, promotes decisiveness and leadership skills.

Charoite (purple in color): Comes from a river in Siberia, Russia. It is thought to promote courage and healing. And release us from our fears!

Coral (red color): Is said to aid in the circulation of the body and to enrich the blood.

Hematite (metallic dark gray color): Energizes and revitalizes you. It attunes the mind and positively affects the bloodstream.

Howlite (White with Gray Marbling): Howlite is thought to aid in breathing.

Jasper (brownish-red color): Nurturing, protects against negativity; promotes healing to kidneys, liver, spleen and bladder.

Lapis (dark blue to purple color): Lapis is thought to bring the gift of strength, self-assurance and increase sensitivity to your higher power. Denim Lapis is light blue color with darker blue speckling.

Malachite (dark green color): Clarifies emotions, facilitates insights. It removes obstruction, represents fidelity and loyalty.

Opal (milky white with spectral colors): Known as "The Gem of the Gods," Opal has always had a mystical significance. Opal is thought to aid in psychic vision and to have the power to open the spiritual centers. Opal is also believed to heighten weak emotions and to strengthen the memory.

Onyx (black color): It is said to drive away unwanted thoughts and bad temper. In folklore, Onyx is considered a stabilizing stone, especially during times of extreme stress because it prevented loss of energy from the body.

Snowflake Obsidian (black with white marbling): Obsidian is Volcanic glass (but is not sharp) and is thought to bring out the truth. It helps calm fear and maintains balance in time of change.

Sodalite (bark blue with white marbling): Is thought to stimulate courage, alleviating fears and calming anguish. It is thought to promote understanding and balance for spiritual growth.

Sugilite (Sugilite is deep purple in color): Is associated with spirituality and mysticism. Sugilite is thought to increase psychic abilities and increase insight.

Tiger-eye (golden color): Tiger-eye is thought to balance negative and positive energy, bringing clarity and enhance psychic ability.

Turquoise (blue color): Turquoise jewelry is very popular today and seems to be an endless fashion. The early Egyptians mined Turquoise as far back as 5000 BC. Turquoise is one of the main stones that the Dine' (Navajo) use in their jewelry work and in religious ceremonies. It is thought to promote healing and good luck. Turquoise can be found in various colors from green to blue. Turquoise is mined in many parts of the world including Iran, Afghanistan, Australia and here in the United States it is mined Arizona and New Mexico. The Native American Indians have used turquoise for jewelry as far back as the 1600's, but the introduction of silver came from the Spanish. And the combination of silver and turquoise is said to have been taught by a Mexican silversmith in the 1800,s.

Wild Horse (white with black): Wild Horse is mined in Nevada and is sometimes called White Turquoise or White Buffalo, but it is 75% Magnasite and 25% Hematite. One of the most popular stones in the Southwestern today is the Beautiful Black and White Wild Horse. This stone is thought to energize and revitalize you; it also represents beauty, strength and determination.



The animal spirits whose qualities we most associate with or those animal spirits which most associate with us. These are qualities that we feel most connected to or qualities that are connected with us. It is a simple belief, that we are all connected, humans, animals and mother earth.

Our animal spirits (totems) can guide us through all or certain parts of our lives. An easy way to learn your totem is to find a quiet place and concentrate or meditate. Don't try too hard or your totems will elude you. It is possible to have several totems and these totems can change as we change throughout life.

Every animal on earth is sacred, revered or has spiritual meaning in one culture or another. Just as the Eagle symbolizes unity, strength and freedom for the United States. Below we list the symbolic meaning of animals in many Native American Indian traditions.


Badger: Cures the sick, prays for the growth of healing herbs to be given to him.

Buffalo :Is thought to be a great spiritual protector, bringing nourishment to the body and soul. When a white or albino Buffalo is born, it is thought to bring peace among nations.

Bear : Symbolizes strength and power. The Bear is considered to be one of the most powerful and sacred of all animals. Because the Bear hibernates, it is considered to bring the gift of renewal. The Bear Kachina is thought to have great power to cure the sick.

Crow (kachina doll) :Is beneficial to agriculture because of his destruction of rodents.

Eagle: The Eagle represents strength and power, is the ruler of the sky & the messenger to the heavens.

Lizard (kachina doll):Is thought to bring sweethearts together.

Owl (kachina doll): Symbolizes intelligence and Wisdom, it is very beneficial to agriculture because of his destruction of rodents.

Wolf: Represents the Hunter, he uses his knowledge to find and capture game animals.

Chasing Star (kachina doll): Chasing Star symbolizes the planets and the stars.

Morning Singer (kachina doll): Appears on rooftops and sings songs to wake the village.

Sunface (kachina doll): Represents warmth, shelter for the old, a bright future, and playfulness for the young.

The Arrowhead: Arrowhead is thought to represent the hunter and also symbolizes the adventurer in each of us.

The above is for entertainment purposes only! These meanings are considered folklore or myth. Bearlanders Trading Co. does not make any such claims to the above statements. Thank You !

About the Author:
I have spent a large amount of time and energy writing this blog post, yet for some reason, ignorant people feel they should copy my work, cut it up and claim it for themselves. You are wrong. Write your own personal story.

Tarl Michael was born and lives in the American Southwest. He purchases jewelry directly from many American Indians in an attempt to support them and himself.
You can purchase Native American Indian jewelry and Gifts at:
Bearlanders Trading Co
e-mail: info@bearlanderstradingco.com


My Guy Sam said...

Words put wisely. I admire you and your efforts to build a life for yourself. I stand behind you and along side you in all you do.


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This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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