Vintage Handcrafted Turquoise Coral & Sterling Silver Navajo Ring
Vintage handcrafted southwestern Navajo ring. Ring features a large turquoise nugget & coral free-form stones set in sterling silver metal bezel settings. Ring features hand carved sterling flower design. Metal has been tested for being sterling silver (925 parts per 1000)
Ring Size: 6.5
Weight: 16 grams
Ring is in very good vintage condition with patina & signs of wear on inside sterling metal setting due to age. Natural color variation of turquoise & coral stones.
Ring is unsigned
History: Atsidi Sani, ('Old Smith') is believed to be the first Navajo blacksmith and learned the silver-smith technique from a Mexican silver smith during the 1850's. He also taught other tribesmen & his four sons the trade. The Navajo tribe incorporated new techniques and materials in their jewelry from Spanish settlers in the area as well. After the Navajo learned new techniques of the silver-smith trade, they would create pieces from resources around them. Canteens, buckles, conchas (also called conchos), and 'najas' (pendants) were some of the objects created. Common design characteristics of Navajo jewelry includes heavy sterling silver ring bands with stones set in elaborate bezels. Many of the stones used in Navajo jewelry are uncut and free-form, and the metalwork often includes intricate designs created from 'sandstone casting.
Turquoise stones have been worn as jewelry for thousands of years by a variety of cultures. Turquoise is native to dry arid lands around the world, with the primary mine locations in Iran, Mexico, Egypt, United States, China, and Chile. The oldest turquoise mine is believed to be located in the Sinai Peninsula, called the 'Maghara Wadi' mines. One of the world's oldest known examples of turquoise jewelry was found in the ancient tomb of Egyptian Queen Zar. It was a turquoise & gold bracelet discovered in 1990 by an archaeologist. Europe was introduced to turquoise through Turkey and was mined in Khorasan of Persia. The name 'turquoise' was first used during the 17th century and was derived from the french name 'turquois', which means 'Turkish'.
The Caral culture of Peru is one of the earliest cultures in South America to use turquoise. In Mesoamerica (now Mexico), the Aztec and Mayan cultures used turquoise as adornments, and traded turquoise jewelry to others. In North America, turquoise was being mined and used by Native Americans in the 200 B.C era. Popular ancient turquoise mines in the Southwestern region were in the Cerrillos and Burro Mountains (located in what is now known as New Mexico.) Southwestern turquoise usually comes from historic mines such as the Kingman turquoise mine and Morenci turquoise mine in Arizona. Different Native American cultures mined and created turquoise jewelry, which includes the Anasazi People, pueblos of Tewa, Zuni, Santo Domingo, and Acoma tribes. There are a variety of different turquoise stones native to the Southwest region of America. Turquoise mines produce different types of color variation and matrixes, which includes Royston Turquoise, Carico Lake Turquoise, Lone Mountain Turquoise, Number 8 Turquoise, and Sleeping Beauty Turquoise.
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.