Native American Jewellery Techniques

Native American Silversmiths use many different techniques to create their unique jewellery including methods such as Overlay, Mosaic & Channel Inlay, Petit Point & Cluster work designs.



 

OVERLAY SILVER WORK

 

This style is most often seen within Navajo crafted Silverwork, the refined overlay aesthetics lend a great depth to any item of jewellery.

Overlay evolved from the applique techniques, this style is structured from a base piece joined to another like sized piece with a cut out design. The background is often oxidized and scratched or stamped to apply the depth and emphasize the contrast between the two pieces.

 

 

 

 
 

MOSAIC INLAY

Mosiac Inlay is most commonly found within Zuni jewellery.

Mosaic inlay features an array of stones from around the world. The Artisan will design the overall form of the piece of jewellery then individually cut each stone to perfectly fit next to the other stones within the piece.

An incredibly precise method that gives a huge impact to the aesthetics of any piece.

PETIT POINT AND NEEDLEWORK SILVER

An incredibly intricate and delicate process mastered by Navajo & Zuni artisans alike.

In the early days Navajo and Zuni silver jewellery looked a very similar style. However intricate stonework gradually became the basis of contemporary Zuni design. Needle point work consists of well matched stones arranged into intricate patterns known as "clusters".



 

SILVER CHANNEL INLAY

Channel Inlay is most commonly found within Zuni mixed stone jewellery.

Silver Channel Inlay is a variation of Mosiac Inlay, in this method the artisan creates soldered silver compartments within the base piece of the jewellery, then individually cuts each stone to perfectly fit within these compartments, known as channels.

The integrity of the stones and the aesthetics of the piece are strengthened by this technique.

CLUSTER WORK

 

Cluster work is possibly the most common craft technique within native jewellery and can resemble the needlework styles.

Cluster work within jewellery consists of well matched stones arranged and set into flower like patterns known as 'Clusters'. Petit point techniques are a refinement of these and consist of small stones rounded on one side , using a grinding wheel to create a tear drop-like shape.