What are the unique features of jewelry from the Hopi tribe?

- Oct 11, 2018-

Before silversmithing was introduced to Native American tribes by European settlers, Hopi jewelry was similar to that of other tribes in the American Southwest. It was primarily made of shell, bone, wood, turquoise, and other stones.

Once silversmithing was incorporated by Hopi craftsmen, they began to use a style of silver work known as overlaying. This is made by using two pieces of sterling silver, one of which has designs cut into it. The pieces are then soldered together to create jewelry with more depth and contrast. The Hopi were the only tribe in the region to adopt this form of jewelry making, and it is considered a distinctive Hopi style to this day.

Even after adopting silversmithing, Hopi craftsmen still used traditional symbols in their work. These included cornstalks, water, the sun, kachina figures, and Kokopelli.