The Gorgeous blue and green hues of turquoise have long been valued by the Native American peoples of the southwestern part of the USA. Entire cultures were built on mining turquoise and designing 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 silver jewelry made in usa manually many centuries prior to the first European settlers arrived. Because turquoise was so highly valued, it was widely traded and circulated among the Native peoples of the Americas, and also the each of the tribes developed their very own unique names for the striking blue stone. Scientific testing has proven that some old beads found in central and South America were originally dug from the Cerrillos turquoise mines near Santa Fe, New Mexico.
When the Europeans brought the technology of working metals like silver along with them to the new world, the American Indians who learned the silver smith trade learned eventually begun to add turquoise with the silver to develop their particular special style of jewelry. A Zuni man called Kineshde is believed to be the first to add turquoise towards the hand crafted silver items he was making within the late 1800s.
Turquoise first came into popular designer in america through the early 1890s, but Persian turquoise was the main objective in the demand at that time, and only a few deposits of high quality turquoise were known in the united states. Within the following years, several good quality deposits previously worked by Native Americans were “rediscovered”, and shortly after 1900 and Americans began to recognize that American turquoise from the Western US was the equal of the on the planet. Interest again started to peak around 1908-1910, and a large amount of American turquoise was mined, particularly in Nevada. The majority of the Turquoise jewelry produced just before 1910 was developed by well-known jewelry manufacturing brands like Tiffany’s, and was manufactured in the typical Victorian styles of those occasions.
None of this was what we would recognize as Indian style turquoise jewelry. There was several Native Americans making turquoise and silver pieces as to what we currently see as the traditional style, but they produced not many pieces as well as their very easy tools increased the man hours each piece needed for completion. That era was basically the dawn of the traditional styles for silver-turquoise jewelry. America’s fascination with turquoise and genuine Indian Jewelry really began in earnest throughout the 1920’s when many people from the outside the southwest begun to see the good thing about this artistic jewelry.
During that time, the Harvey House restaurant chain opened a number of facilities throughout the southwest throughout the great days of popular rail travel throughout the US. At first, Indian Jewelry was just sold as curios inside 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 popular. The pieces produced during this period continue to be known as having been made in the “Fred Harvey” style. Heavy Indian Jewelry failed to become popular until after 1925, when the classic squash-blossom necklaces were first delivered to the tourist market. The squash-blossom craze lasted until about 1940, when they were discontinued typically by most Indian artisans for requiring a lot of work and too much turquoise.
Inside the 1920’s and 1930’s, the concho belt changed from the simple silver belt to some more ornate belt with someone to multiple turquoise stones in all the individual parts of the belt. The tourist jewelry of that era is very collectable today. It begun to be noticed that sales of Native American jewelry had significant potential to provide a reliable income source to tribal members across Arizona and New Mexico. During those years, schools and classes were established at several reservations to exercise boys inside the trade of creating Native American style Sterling and turquoise jewelry. Within the following decades, many very talented artists arrived of those schools. During the years following WWII, many Americans traveled across the country, and also on their trips through the Arizona-New Mexico area, learned that local traders had rooms filled with this Native American jewelry, in which the traders called pawn pieces. Most of these were jewelry pieces the Indian people designed for themselves and pawned for starters of two reasons: either they needed money, or it was considered a secure storage place. As a pbuvtu in the rise in popularity of these pawn pieces, a number of trading posts sprang up within the Southwest and data of the unique type of jewelry became much more widespread. New jewelry have also been developed to satisfy the growing tourist demand. Those that appreciated the stunning American turquoise started to recognize the general variations in matrix patterns and color, etc. between the different mine sources. During this time period, which extended for the early 1950’s, turquoise began to be named, for sales purposes, after the mine in which it was found, including Lone Mountain, Royston, Blue Gem, yet others.
An increasing number of American Indians continued to handcraft silver jewelry in the 1950s and early 1960’s inside the traditional way. As much as that period their work was generally popular only in the southwest region of the US, however the increasing quantity of material available begun to enable a larger audience to see and appreciate this beautiful type of jewelry art. However, it failed to become widely popular throughout the entire US till the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. During those times the simple and natural beauty of turquoise jewelry took over as the rage in the American fashion scene. The prices from the old pawn jewelry rocketed upward, along with 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 numerous mines and also the import of Indian “style” jewelry produced by manufacturers in Mexico, Taiwan, as well as the Philippines. In time, the marketplace became glutted, the customer was confused by overpriced synthetic, stabilized and plastic imitation materials and also by 1981 the supply was high however the demand vanished. The marketplace collapsed and most of the American turquoise mines were de-activate and possess remained closed since that time. Turquoise demand hit a small water mark during the early 1980s, but has been slowly and steadily increasing in popularity since that time. Most American mines have remained closed, and in recent years sought after for natural American turquoise has caused once more significant increases in prices.