A Brief History of Native American Rings
The history of Native American rings began with the Navajo tribe. Exploring Spaniards taught the Navajo how to make Native American rings, necklaces, bracelets and belt buckles in the sixteenth century. The Navajo are responsible for passing the craft on to other southwest tribes. Atsidi Sandi is considered to be the first silversmith of the Navajo. He taught his sons so they could continue teaching the craft for generations to come.
Silver and Native American Rings
The Navajo realized the aesthetic beauty of silver, especially when it was paired with semi-precious stones. However, silver was not readily available, so the Navajo would trade with the Spanish to get silver items that could be melted down. The Navajo learned to cast silver in sandstone, and how to hand hammer the silver to make thinner pieces of jewelry. They would even melt down coins to make Native American rings and other jewelry!
When the law was passed in 1890 that coins could not be destroyed, they melted Mexican coins. In the 1880’s turquoise was combined with the silver. Southwest America and South America have an abundance of mineral deposits where turquoise can be mined. It is also often found near the surface of the ground, making it easy to retrieve. There was rarely a more popular stone to be used in Native American rings.
Native American Rings and Trade
Native American rings and other jewelry was very popular with the European settlers. This enabled the Native American tribes to trade for desirable things the settlers could offer. One thing in particular was fabrics. Before the trade of Native American rings and jewelry, the Native American women would use soft hides and furs to make clothes. The introduction of different fabrics and other European items changed the lives of Native Americans for good.
Native American Rings Today
After 1900, the Navajo began to commercialize their jewelry making. It supplemented a sometimes sparse income with the sale of Native American rings, bracelets and necklaces. Today, Native American rings are just as popular as ever. Some Native American rings are even being used as wedding bands.
Whether the Native American rings you seek are just bands inlaid with mother of pearl, or a stunning array of turquoise stones that resemble a flower; you will not be disappointed with the beauty and craftsmanship of authentic Native American rings!