Earth tones, the colors of the sky and sand, symbolism, and the sheen of sterling silver make Native American jewelry remarkable and recognizable. The craftsmanship and choices of materials mean that there is a meaningful piece of jewelry out there perfect for you or to give as a gift.
Shopping for Native Jewelry
When you're shopping for jewelry, you'll see a combination of beautiful colors, large stones, intricate detail, and references to nature.
You may also see arrows or certain shapes, like upside-down crescents that show up often. Pieces are usually handmade and often customizable.
Native American rings often feature sterling silver and beautiful stones. The meanings behind the stones can include healing, stamina, good fortune, spontaneity, protection, or courage.
- Turquoise: Strength, good fortune, and healing
- Onyx: Healing, stamina, self-control, and absorption of negative energy from the wearer
- Tiger-eye: Courage and protection
- Coral: Protection and calming anxiety
- Lapis: Wisdom, decisiveness, and fortitude
- Ruby: Healing of mind, body, and spirit
- Opal: Freedom and spontaneity
- Malachite: Good luck, protection from danger and illness, and balanced emotions
- Pearls: Purity and integrity
Native American rings often have large, gorgeous turquoise, coral, onyx, and other stones. In some cases, there are smaller, more delicate styles made from sterling silver and a hint of gold, often with symbolism in the details rather than stones.
- The Eden Ring from Child of Wild (just over $200.00) features a large onyx, which is said to be good for childbirth, healing wounds, stamina, and self-control. The ring is one inch long, and the onyx is polished and oval-shaped.
- The Genuine Sterling Silver Native American Opal Inlay Ring from Silver Tribe is only around $25.00, and it features a band that's about ¾-inch wide at its center, with sides that taper down from there. Opal is said to unleash one's psychic and mystical abilities.
- Southwest Silver Gallery has a selection of two-toned rings like the Gold and Sterling Silver Feather Wrap Rings by Lena Platero. They feature a wrap style with two feathers that display intricate details, are designed for anyone to wear (men, women, or youth) and are signed by the artist. Feathers have a prominent spot in Native American jewelry and are thought to be carriers of messages to the Great Spirit.
- The Free Spirit Turquoise Cabochon Sterling Silver Ring from The Bradford Exchange is a similar style that also incorporates a turquoise stone. It costs right around $100.00 and has the wrapped feather look, with the stone in the middle. It's made from sterling silver and 18K gold tone plating.
Squash Blossom Necklaces
Squash blossom necklaces often feature an inverted crescent which the Navajo refer to as the Naja. There's no spiritual, deeper meaning to the inverted crescent often found on these squash blossom necklaces, but it's used for its beauty instead. The symbol had a presence in their history as the Naja was frequently used on trade goods in the area and eventually in the transition from warriors to merchants.
Not all squash blossom necklaces have the crescent but they do have the beads that branch off from the main chain along the majority of the length of the necklace. Some believe the shape is reminiscent of the actual squash blossom and the way the petals extend outward from the base.
- Silver Tribe's Multicolor Inlay Sterling Silver Squash Blossom Necklace Set is less than $1000.00 and features sterling silver, real turquoise, black jade, red oyster shell, white and yellow mother-of-pearl, and magenta turquoise. The inside circumference of the necklace is 26.25 inches, and it weighs about 89 grams. The post dangle earrings are about 1.5 inches long.
- Child of Wild's 24-inch Sky Stone Native American Squash Blossom Necklace is just under $4000.00. It features sterling silver and Carico Lake turquoise. The Naja is 3 x 2.5 inches and has 15 turquoise stones on it.
Cuff bracelets are wonderful because they have plenty of room for large stones, color, and details you might not find on other types of bracelets.
- The Multicolor Zuni Sterling Silver Thunderbird Cuff Bracelet is available from Silver Tribe for under $1000.00. This design not only features sterling silver, turquoise, coral, jet, brown shell, and mother-of-pearl, but there's also the thunderbird, an omen of war whose wings were believed to be so powerful, they could cause thunder. Its eyes were believed to shoot lightning. This bracelet is two inches wide at its widest point.
- The Oval White Buffalo Bracelet from Southwest Indian (less than $150.00) features the white buffalo stone, a type of turquoise, combined with sterling silver. This is a chic bracelet that will match almost anything thanks to the almost monochromatic appearance of the white and silver combined.
Native American pendants often use several types of stone in a mosaic arrangement.
- The Multi-Stone Pendant by Dee Nez, available at Garland Jewelry for about $230.00, is one inch wide and 1.25 inches high. It features turquoise, spiny oyster shell, lapis, and gaspeite on a sterling silver base.
- The Bear Claw Pendant from Southwest Indian, is an understated sterling silver piece with a bear paw shape decorated with a small turquoise stone. In Native American cultures, the bear track is a powerful symbol and a good omen. The bear itself (which you may also see in Native American jewelry) is a symbol for strength and leadership.
- The Zuni Butterfly Pendant from Southwest Indian, features a butterfly design inlaid with colored stones. The pendant costs about $50.00. The butterfly symbolizes beauty and transformation, and butterflies are believed to carry messages from the spirit world.
Earrings, like rings, often have one or more gorgeous, colorful stones. They don't always have those, however. Sometimes, these earrings are simply sterling silver with symbolism, like a bear claw or Kokopelli.
- The Sterling Silver 12 Karat Gold Filled Tommy and Rose Singer Navajo Kokopelli Post Earrings from Native American Jewelry are less than $100.00 and feature a popular fertility symbol. The Kokopelli was believed to seduce young women by playing the flute and then impregnate them. The 12K gold here is on top of brass and other metals.
- The Water Wave and Hummingbird Navajo Silver Post Earrings are also created by Tommy and Rose Singer, and available on Native American Jewelry for under $100.00. Hummingbirds are used to symbolize strength, resiliency, independence, and adaptability.
Other Popular Native American Designs
Whether you're looking for earrings, a necklace, a bracelet, or even a ring, there are other designs that you're likely to see as you search.
- You may see arrows in different positions and wonder what they mean. If they're facing different directions, that means war; crossed arrows, however, symbolize friendship. A broken arrow symbolizes peace, while a lone arrowhead stands for staying alert and seeking adventure.
- A man in a maze could make a good gift to give someone as they graduate as he symbolizes a journey through life. He could also serve as a reminder to yourself or someone else that nothing is forever, and we're meant to go through several stages of life. Relish them all.
- Wolves show up often in Native American jewelry for good reason. They're a strong symbol of direction, strength, intelligence, protection, and the importance of family values. They're thought to be a go-between for the earth and the spirit world, and can give direction through dreams.
- The medicine wheel, or sacred hoop, could symbolize several things, like the four directions, the four seasons, the elements of nature (fire, air, water, earth), stages of life (birth, youth, adult/elder, death), or even the aspects of life (spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical), heavenly beings (sun, moon, earth, stars), the trials of man (success, defeat, peace, war), and more.
Find the Perfect Jewelry
There are so many beautiful designs to choose from. Finding their deeper meanings can make wearing the pieces even more meaningful and assist you in finding the perfect gift for someone you love.