Vintage Handcrafted Coral & Sterling Silver Southwestern Native American Necklace
Vintage handcrafted coral & sterling silver southwestern Native American necklace. Necklace features sterling silver spacers and toggle clasp. Metal has been tested for being sterling silver (925 parts per 1000)
Measurements: 19” inches long
Weight: 20 grams
Necklace is in very good vintage condition with minor signs of wear to sterling spacers & clasp
The necklace is unsigned
History: Coral has been used in jewelry for at least 30,000 years. In North America, coral was brought from the Mediterranean waters with the arrival of Europeans. It was then introduced & traded with Native Americans around 600 years ago. Tribes that have used coral throughout history includes the Zuni, Hopi, & Santo Domingo. Early Native American coral jewelry used coral for a variety of reasons, which includes necklaces as trade beads and for ceremonial purposes.
For centuries, dating back as far as 10,000 B.C, Native American stone jewelry was created with natural resources in the Southwest region. At first, ornaments created by Paleo-Indians were animal bones, coral, shells, and stones. However, as time went on the complexity of jewelry making included using turquoise, copper, semi-precious stones, silver, and abalone. Native Americans in the Southwest region began selling silver & turquoise jewelry to tourists around 1900, but combining turquoise with silver was common among the Navajo tribe in the 1880's.
When tourism increased in the Southwest region due to the opening of the Grand Canyon, the demand of Native American turquoise jewelry also increased dramatically. Many Native American jewelry artists were blacksmiths and silversmiths who taught each other the trade. Around 1860, Navajo Native American Atsidi Sani (c.1830-c.1918) began to create with silver to create ornaments for horse gear and jewelry. Atsidi Sani taught his four sons and other Navajo Americans the silversmith trade. By the turn of the 20th century, Native Americans were not only creating jewelry ornaments for themselves, but also as commercial consumption for tourists as well.