Circa 1970’s Zuni needlepoint cuff bracelet. Measuring 3/8″ in width and 5″ of silver with over 25 individually hand cut stones.
Some of the most beautiful and exciting Native American jewelry is made by combining many stones into one piece. Depending on how the stones are cut, this style of combining stones can be called Cluster-Work, Needle Point, Petit Point and Snake Eyes. These four styles emerged in the early 1920’s-1940’s and are primarily made by the Zuni Tribe, although some Navajos will make similar designs. These styles have a feminine quality to them, as the stones are set in small and elegant settings.
These designs are very tedious as each bezel (the silver holding the stone) is individually shaped and solder. Then the stones are cut, glued to matchsticks, then shaped and polished with a series of grinding wheel. Most artist typically will use Sleeping Beauty Turquoise or Mediterranean Red Coral, but other non-traditional stones (e.g. lapis, opal) have been used.
Needle point Jewelry is a very elegant style that emerged in Zuni jewelry in the 1940’s. It is among some of the most labor intensive jewelry to make. Made by both Navajo and Zuni artist, this style is defined as a small slivers of stone that are pointed on both ends.