NEEDLEPOINT: The history of Native American jewelry would not exist without the Zuni. In ancient times, all trails led to Zuni. The Spaniards believed the village was one of the “Seven Cities of Gold,” so invaded only to find the Zuni encrusting stones and shell atop fanshell. BUT no gold. Interestingly, the lapidary of the Zuni WAS the gold, hence the trails.
That historic lapidary skill seems endemic among the Zuni. Nearly every home is a mini-workshop replete with stone cutting tools. Zuni is a most industrious village!
One much appreciated challenge among Zuni lapidarists is the cutting of an elongated turquoise shaft called NEEDLEPOINT. As a crystalloid, turquoise has a brittle hardness, so in thin situations suffers fracture. Some Zuni artisans have mastered the NEEDLEPOINT dilemma with skill and dexterity. Although loss factor is high, once cut, the Zuni safely mount each into a secure sawtooth bezel, protecting the stone.
Artisans then arrange their stones into pleasing and useful jewelry, adding a high level of various silversmithing skills.
This choker exemplifies the orderly and skillful talents of top grade Zuni lapidary and silver work featuring glittering silver dangles Beautiful!
Excellent condition, 16”-18” in length. Circa1980s. Natural Sleeping Beauty turquoise.
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