The Beautiful blue and green hues of turquoise have long been cherished by the Native American peoples of the southwestern part of the United states. Entire cultures were built on mining turquoise and crafting holy and special items from the attractive stone in areas which are now a part of both New Mexico and Nevada. American Indian peoples were making jewelry made in usa manually hundreds of years prior to the first European settlers turned up. Because turquoise was highly valued, it was widely exchanged and circulated among the Native peoples of the Americas, and also the each of the tribes developed their particular unique names for the striking blue stone. Scientific testing has shown that some ancient beads found in central and South America were originally dug from the Cerrillos turquoise mines near Santa Fe, New Mexico.
If the Europeans brought the technology of working metals like silver along with them towards the new world, the American Indians who learned the silver smith trade learned eventually started to add turquoise with all the silver to build up their very own special type of jewelry. A Zuni man called Kineshde is believed to be the first one to add turquoise towards the hand crafted silver items he was making within the late 1800s.
Turquoise first came into popular designer in the united states through the early 1890s, but Persian turquoise was the main focus from the demand during those times, and only a few deposits of high quality turquoise were known in the united states. Inside the following years, a number of top quality deposits previously worked by Native Americans were “rediscovered”, and soon after 1900 and Americans begun to realize that American turquoise through the Western US was the equal of any on the planet. Interest again begun to peak around 1908-1910, and a great deal of American turquoise was mined, specifically in Nevada. The majority of the Turquoise jewelry produced prior to 1910 was developed by popular jewelry manufacturing brands like Tiffany’s, and was manufactured in the conventional Victorian styles of those occasions.
None of this was whatever we would recognize as Indian style turquoise jewelry. There have been a few Native Americans making turquoise and silver pieces with what we currently see because the traditional style, however they produced very few pieces along with their quite simple tools increased the guy hours every piece needed for completion. That era was basically the dawn in the traditional styles for silver-turquoise jewelry. America’s fascination with turquoise and genuine Indian Jewelry really began in earnest through the 1920’s when more and more people from outside the southwest begun to see the advantage of this artistic jewelry.
At that time, the Harvey House restaurant chain opened numerous facilities across the southwest throughout the great times of popular rail travel over the US. Initially, Indian Jewelry was only sold as curios in the restaurants for that patrons touring the west. Earrings and thin, small bracelets stamped with arrows and bows and containing symmetrically cut small oval items of turquoise were the types most in demand. The pieces produced during this period remain referred to as having been made in the “Fred Harvey” style. Heavy Indian Jewelry did not become popular until after 1925, when the classic squash-blossom necklaces were first taken to the tourist market. The squash-blossom craze lasted until about 1940, when they were discontinued in most cases by most Indian artisans for requiring a lot of work and excessive turquoise.
Within the 1920’s and 1930’s, the concho belt changed from a simple silver belt to some more ornate belt with someone to multiple turquoise stones in the individual parts of the belt. The tourist jewelry of that era is extremely collectable today. It begun to be noticed that sales of Native American jewelry had significant potential to supply a reliable income source to tribal members across Arizona and New Mexico. During those years, schools and classes were established at a number of reservations to exercise men in the trade of producing Native American style Sterling and turquoise jewelry. Inside the following decades, many very talented artists became available of these schools. During the years following WWII, many Americans traveled across the nation, and also on their trips with the Arizona-New Mexico area, found that local traders had rooms packed with this Native American jewelry, in which the traders called pawn pieces. Many of these were jewelry pieces the Indian people made for themselves and pawned for starters of two reasons: either they needed money, or it was considered a safe and secure storage place. As being a pbuvtu from the interest in these pawn pieces, numerous trading posts sprang up in the Southwest and data of this unique kind of jewelry became far more widespread. New jewelry was also created to satisfy the growing tourist demand. Those that appreciated the gorgeous American turquoise started to recognize the typical variations in matrix patterns and color, etc. between the different mine sources. During this time period, which extended for the early 1950’s, turquoise begun to be named, for sales purposes, following the mine in which it was found, such as Lone Mountain, Royston, Blue Gem, yet others.
A lot more American Indians continued to handcraft silver jewelry within the 1950s and early 1960’s within the traditional way. Up to that period their work was generally popular only within the southwest region from the US, nevertheless the increasing amount of material available begun to enable a bigger audience to find out and appreciate this beautiful kind of jewelry art. However, it failed to become widely popular over the entire US till the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. During those times the basic and natural splendor of turquoise jewelry had become the rage of the American fashion scene. The values from the old pawn jewelry rocketed upward, and a craze for Indian turquoise jewelry swelled and boosted demand (and costs) for turquoise to previously undreamed levels.
The improved prices and demand caused the re-opening of many mines and the import of Indian “style” jewelry made by manufacturers in Mexico, Taiwan, and also the Philippines. In time, the marketplace became glutted, the customer was confused by overpriced synthetic, stabilized and plastic imitation materials and by 1981 the supply was high but the demand vanished. The market collapsed and most of the American turquoise mines were turn off and also have remained closed since that point. Turquoise demand hit a low water mark in the early 1980s, but continues to be slowly and steadily increasing in popularity since that point. Most American mines have remained closed, and in recent years high demand for natural American turquoise is responsible for yet again significant increases in prices.