Tolkien, artist

7/100 The Season is Beginning


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{Take the 100 Things challenge!}


May is here and the travel season has started. For my store that means that travelers will be looking for authentic Native American-made items to give as gifts when they travel overseas. One category of product that we sell is completed products that are Native American made. This includes beadwork, silver and turquoise jewelry, pottery, Zuni guardian animals (often referred to as fetishes), Hopi katsinas, Navajo weavings, Pueblo pottery and Ojibwe dreamcatchers. Depending on the location that the customer is travelling to, any or all of these have been sold to a variety of people bringing them overseas.

Today I had a lovely young woman in the store who is married to a part-Native American husband. They are leaving shortly for a trip to France followed by a trip to Tunisia and wanted to bring gifts for their hosts. Because they wanted something that would be immediately recognized as Native American in origin, their choice was silver and turquoise jewelry.

I have always found it interesting that jewelry made in this combination is almost always immediately associated with Native American work, whether or not it actually is Native American made. I have to give credit to the traders in the early part of the 1900's and late part of the 1800's for promoting the work of the Southwestern Indian peoples to the general world. When delving into the history of the spread of southwestern goods into the larger marketplace, it is centered around the railroad heads and the trading posts setting up markets on the East Coast and promoting their product. In fact, turquoise was the most popular color of stone for jewelry in general, whether gold or silver, Native American or fine jewelry, towards the end of the 1800's.

What really thrills me is that it is still popular and still beautiful. I have loved this style of jewelry throughout my life and I love it when other people also express their love for skystone and silver. I'm sure that the jewelry purchased by this couple for their gifts will be loved and appreciated and isn't that the important thing?
Turquoise is often known as skystone and I love it. It has so many varieties and so many different looks, one can never get bored with turquoise.

- Erulisse (one L)