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American Indian Jewelry

The history of American Indian jewelry dates back thousands of years, but throughout its longevity its designs share a richness of materials and a shared thread of narrative. American Indian jewelry tells a fascinating story of its creator, its tribe, and its era, all wrapped into one spectacular piece.

While the earliest examples of American Indian jewels can be traced to the tribes of the Pacific Northwest, it was around 8,000 B.C. that a profusion of jewelry designs emerged in the American southwest. Originally created with shell beads, jewelry soon adopted new precious metals and materials. The introduction of copper and silver, combined with beads and pendants crafted from coral and turquoise, allowed American Indian artists to both diversify their designs and create striking jewelry pieces.

Different tribes came to specialize in various media as well. The southwestern Navajo Indians, for instance, mastered silversmithing and the use of turquoise in their designs, while the Eastern Woodlands Indians excelled in the creation of beautiful and highly polished beads made from clam and sea snail shells.


Quick Facts

  • The oldest documented American Indian jewelry dates to approximately 10,000 B.C. The find consists of four bone earrings that were located near Fairbanks, Alaska
  • The first examples of copper jewelry date to around 3000 B.C. and can be traced to the Great Lakes region, an area that is rich with copper deposits
  • Though used in American Indian jewelry for millennia, turquoise inset into or mounted on silver is a relatively modern adaptation of American Indian traditions. It was not until the 1870s that such a combination was conjured by American Indian jewelry designers

Recommended Items at Auction

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Richard C. Jim Gem Grade Bisbee Turquoise Detailed Intricate Inner & Outer Stamp Work Heavy Gauge Cuff Bracelet
Jun 02, 9:00 AM MDT
Richard C. Jim Gem Grade Bisbee Turquoise Detailed Intricate Inner & Outer Stamp Work Heavy Gauge Cuff Bracelet
by Billy The Kid Auction House
Est: $6,000- $10,000
$3,30022 Bids
Navajo Sterling Silver Spiny Oyster Squash Blossom Necklace Set
May 25, 9:00 AM MDT
Navajo Sterling Silver Spiny Oyster Squash Blossom Necklace Set
by R&H Auction
Est: $1,400- $2,200
$60018 Bids
After Thomas Hannaweeke Silver Zuni Squash
May 25, 10:00 AM MST
After Thomas Hannaweeke Silver Zuni Squash
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$55017 Bids
Guy Hoskie Turquoise Mountain Turquoise Cuff Bracelet
Jun 02, 9:00 AM MDT
Guy Hoskie Turquoise Mountain Turquoise Cuff Bracelet
by Billy The Kid Auction House
Est: $900- $1,400
$55013 Bids
Eula Wylie Navajo Kingman Turquoise & Pink Conch Cluster Large Lariat Necklace
Jun 02, 9:00 AM MDT
Eula Wylie Navajo Kingman Turquoise & Pink Conch Cluster Large Lariat Necklace
by Billy The Kid Auction House
Est: $3,500- $5,500
$55012 Bids
Navajo Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Two Row Large Traditional Cuff Bracelet
Jun 02, 9:00 AM MDT
Navajo Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Two Row Large Traditional Cuff Bracelet
by Billy The Kid Auction House
Est: $700- $1,200
$65012 Bids
Mike Thomas Sterling Silver Blue Jay Turquoise Large Men's Ring
May 25, 9:00 AM MDT
Mike Thomas Sterling Silver Blue Jay Turquoise Large Men's Ring
by R&H Auction
Est: $200- $500
$30011 Bids
Navajo Mother of Pearl Squash Blossom Necklace
Jun 02, 9:00 AM MDT
Navajo Mother of Pearl Squash Blossom Necklace
by Billy The Kid Auction House
Est: $1,800- $2,500
$30011 Bids
Harold Smith Sterling Silver Multi-Stone Inlay Cobblestone Cuff
May 25, 9:00 AM MDT
Harold Smith Sterling Silver Multi-Stone Inlay Cobblestone Cuff
by R&H Auction
Est: $400- $800
$27511 Bids
Glen Sandoval Navajo Sterling Silver Pendant
May 25, 10:00 AM MST
Glen Sandoval Navajo Sterling Silver Pendant
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$5511 Bids
Zuni Sterling Silver Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Earrings
May 25, 9:00 AM MDT
Zuni Sterling Silver Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Earrings
by R&H Auction
Est: $200- $400
$15010 Bids
Aaron Anderson Sterling Tufa Cast Number 8 Turquoise Eagle Cuff
May 25, 9:00 AM MDT
Aaron Anderson Sterling Tufa Cast Number 8 Turquoise Eagle Cuff
by R&H Auction
Est: $1,500- $2,500
$60010 Bids
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NATIVE AMERICAN STERLING SILVER BISBEE TURQUOISE CUFF
Jun 09, 9:00 AM MST
NATIVE AMERICAN STERLING SILVER BISBEE TURQUOISE CUFF
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$16010 Bids
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LESTER ORTIZ NAVAJO STERLING SILVER TURQUOISE CONCHO BELT
Jun 09, 9:00 AM MST
LESTER ORTIZ NAVAJO STERLING SILVER TURQUOISE CONCHO BELT
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$9510 Bids
Vintage Navajo Nevada Turquoise Squash Blossom Necklace
Jun 02, 9:00 AM MDT
Vintage Navajo Nevada Turquoise Squash Blossom Necklace
by Billy The Kid Auction House
Est: $1,300- $1,900
$70010 Bids
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NATIVE AMERICAN STERLING SILVER TURQUOISE CUFF
Jun 09, 9:00 AM MST
NATIVE AMERICAN STERLING SILVER TURQUOISE CUFF
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$709 Bids
Readda Begay Navajo Royston Turquoise Cluster Large Adjustable Ring
Jun 02, 9:00 AM MDT
Readda Begay Navajo Royston Turquoise Cluster Large Adjustable Ring
by Billy The Kid Auction House
Est: $800- $1,200
$2509 Bids
Vintage Navajo Sterling Graduated Bead Necklace
May 25, 10:00 AM MST
Vintage Navajo Sterling Graduated Bead Necklace
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$2759 Bids
Zuni Silver & Turquoise Squash Blossom Necklace
May 25, 10:00 AM MST
Zuni Silver & Turquoise Squash Blossom Necklace
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$5509 Bids
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NATIVE AMERICAN STERLING SILVER GRADUATED DISK NECKLACE & EARRINGS
Jun 09, 9:00 AM MST
NATIVE AMERICAN STERLING SILVER GRADUATED DISK NECKLACE & EARRINGS
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$809 Bids
Navajo Chief Sterling Turquoise Ring Size (11.75)
May 25, 10:00 AM MST
Navajo Chief Sterling Turquoise Ring Size (11.75)
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$709 Bids
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DARRIN LIVINGSTON NAVAJO STERLING SILVER SLEEPING BEAUTY TURQUOISE CUFF
Jun 09, 9:00 AM MST
DARRIN LIVINGSTON NAVAJO STERLING SILVER SLEEPING BEAUTY TURQUOISE CUFF
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$1109 Bids
Vintage Kingman Turquoise Traditional Cuff Bracelet
Jun 02, 9:00 AM MDT
Vintage Kingman Turquoise Traditional Cuff Bracelet
by Billy The Kid Auction House
Est: $600- $1,000
$3509 Bids

Sellers Who Sell American Indian Jewelry


Billy The Kid Auction House

Billy The Kid Auction House

Easterly Auction Company

Easterly Auction Company

R&H Auction

R&H Auction

Bradford's

Bradford's