Zuni Native Americans are master jewelry makers. As seen through their intricate and detailed pins and broaches above, they are crafted with precision and symbolic meaning. The Zuni traditionally practice three different kinds of jewelry making: inlay, needle-point, and petti point. Within this collection, there are all three types of styles included.
Inlay style refers to the pins that have various stones shaped into smooth shapes and either fit together like a pattern or separated by thin strips of silver. The works that have the seams of silver between pieces is called channel inlay. Traditionally, Zuni jewelry makers do not cast their silver pieces, meaning each piece is done by hand specifically molded to that individual piece. Typically, the Zuni use turquoise, coral, jet, and white mother of pearl to make their pieces. Turquoise represents Father Sky, whereas red symbolizes Mother Earth.
Needle-point pieces of jewelry are usually composed of the same materials and colors found within inlay works, however, these pieces have individual beads and stones carved, giving the piece a needle-point feel. Because of their apparent delicacy, men do not usually wear needle-point styled pieces. Needle-work styles can be found on earrings, bracelets, necklaces, rings, and pins, and usually worn by women.
Petti point style is specific in that each turquoise stone is encased in its own silver groove, or bezel. Because of the individual placement and creation of each stone, petti point is extremely time consuming and delicate. This style, unique to just Zuni people, is a sought after jewelry style that is highly desired. Because it is only made by Zuni jewelry makers, works such as these pins done in petti point can only be found within certain areas.
Durango Silver Company. “Zuni Jewelry,” Durango Silver Company. Web. https://www.durangosilver.com/zuni-petit-point-jewelry.html