Silver Indian Jewelry Can Be Historically Significant or Classically Modern, Says New Site

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New explores all things silver Indian jewelry.

silver indian jewelry
Make no mistake, silver Indian jewelry is art in its purest form.

The range of jewelry design available from traditional Native American artists is wider and more exciting today than ever before, and young artists are taking the best of historic design tradition of the past and melding it with modern techniques in silversmithing to create stunning wearable art. For, make no mistake, silver Indian jewelry is art in its purest form. Self-adornment marked the beginning of artistic expression.

The shaping of a piece of metal into a piece of jewelry takes vision, talent and precision. Whether combined with stones or etched with pattern, or painstakingly wrapped and shaped to suggest another form, making jewelry is hard work, and brings to life a vision viewed only by the artist. Traditional forms may rely on an accepted pattern, but many historic designs have given way to new creative endeavors.

“A visit to a contemporary Southwestern gallery will be an eye-opening experience,” says spokeswoman Joyce Wright. “Emerging artists who win ribbons at the annual Santa Fe Indian Market are leaders in the field of silver Indian jewelry, and a new generation of artists of all media is emerging.”

New designs are grounded in tradition in the sense of reverence they display for the art form, she notes, but they are somehow sleeker and more representative of today's emerging individualism and innovative lifestyles.

Much of the best of modern silver Indian jewelry is more fluid, more polished, lighter and somehow still more organic than the former heavy and heavily embellished examples of historic design. Although there is ample demand for both styles among those who love to own and wear artistic silver bracelets, necklaces and rings, the trend seems to be toward simple artistry and evident craftsmanship and away from heavy, ostentatious display.

“It is possible, as well, that the increasing cost of silver and other metals has had an effect on style, contributing to a more restrained use of metals in general,” says Wright. “More common use of inlay, hammered effects, precious and semi-precious stones set in silver, as well as the occasional use of other metal and leather accents in artistic contemporary jewelry design is a new trend, and a welcome one in the art world.”

While nobody believes that the market for traditional Native American handmade jewelry will diminish, it is also acknowledged that art must continue to remain relevant to its time. The future of silver Indian jewelry remains bright.

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Janet Wilts
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