(Charles Loloma lost wax cast gold sapphire ring, from the Martha Hopkins Struever Gallery website)
Fashion Editors Take Notice - Authentic American Indian Jewelry Should Be the New "It" Jewelry
By Bonnie McClung
Coming from Santa Fe, New Mexico and working in the American Indian art business, I've grown quite accustomed to seeing the coolest, edgiest, and most beautiful American Indian jewelry being worn on a daily basis. Flip through the latest issue of Vogue, Elle, or InStyle, though, and I dare you to find a model wearing a piece of true natural turquoise. To me, this is quite the fashion travesty, for good Native American jewelry worn the right way can make all the fashion difference in the world. Here are some reasons why quality Authentic American Indian jewelry should be the new "It" jewelry:
- Most authentic American Indian jewelry is hand-made rather than mass produced. What could be better than wearing a piece of fantastic jewelry that no one else has!
- If you're wearing authentic American Indian jewelry you're supporting true artists and an art form that has withstood the test of time while constantly evolving into new innovations as well.
- Natural American turquoise (the subject of an article to come) is truly rare. Some of the turquoise mines are no longer even producing that type of turquoise. If you're able to acquire a jewelry piece with natural turquoise, you've got a piece with a stone that's in quite limited supply.
- Antique or vintage American Indian jewelry pieces, like turquoise stones, are obviously limited in supply, so again, you won't have to worry about showing up at the Academy Awards wearing the same Leekya Deyuse fetish necklace as your on and off-screen rival.
- Don't like silver or turquoise? No problem, a lot of Native artists are taking their jewelry to new and incredible gold heights. Check out Maria Samora's work - she was the poster artist for the 2009 Santa Fe Indian Market.
- You want a jeweler's name to love, a Harry Winston of the Native jewelry world perhaps? Don't worry. There are true "stars" in the American Indian jewelry world, artists who have a cult-like following among collectors because of their innovative designs and expert craftsmanship.
- In our eco-conscious world, what could be more green than buying a NATIVE American made piece that's hand-fashioned out of natural materials?
I hope this little piece at least nudges you to do a little search of American Indian jewelry on your own. You'll be amazed at how wonderful it is. Who knows, maybe next time I'm traveling outside of Santa Fe, I'll see a really great pair of Mike Bird Romero earrings on someone, or maybe, just maybe I'll open up that issue of Vogue and see a model wearing a Charles Loloma pendant with her Marchesa gown.
(Bonnie McClung is the director of the Martha Hopkins Struever Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico)
(Maria Samora bracelet from the Kuem Boom collection, from her website)
(Maria Samora Lightning Bolt necklace, from her website)
(Mike Bird Romero bracelet with mother of pearl squares, from the Martha Hopkins Struever Gallery website)
(Charles Loloma gold lost wax cast ring from the Martha Hopkins Struever Gallery website)