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Zuni Indian Jewelry

The Zuni Indian reservation is along the western of New Mexico near the border of Arizona . The Zuni Indians and their ancestors have been making jewelry for over 1,000 years. The first Zuni Indian to learn to work with silver was Lanyade around 1872  learning from the Navajo.  Many of the designs of Zuni Indian jewelry have not changed over the years.  Zuni Indians are known for their intricate stone cutting: petit point, needle point, inlay and detailed stone carvings known as fetishes.

Needle point -Turquoise cut in long narrow or elongated stones set in delicate bezels is called needle point. Turquoise Jewelry with pear shape cut gems is known as petite point. Gems that have been cut and tightly set and inlaid into silver jewelry is known as “inlay”. This is a skill of intricate small stonework especially with pieces with smaller tightly fitting gems and settings.

Petit point – Turquoise or small stones are cut into egg-shape, oval or pear-shape gems set clusters or rows with stones and settings symmetrical.

Inlay – this technique predates European arrival and is small stones or shell cut and set into channels of silver or mosaic inlaid together and set into jewelry. The inlay can be flat, raised, etched or sculpted.