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Combining many stones into one piece makes some of the most beautiful and exciting Native American jewelry. 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.
Petit Point jewelry refers to cluster-work that is made up of stones that are pear-shaped: oval on one end and pointed on the opposite. This type of work is typically made in round and oval designs, but other shapes are possible. This style is made the Zuni and Navajo tribes.