With a fascinating variety of American Indian rings from the southwestern United States shown in more than 350 color photos, this book provides a design history of these rings, beginning with pre-contact artifacts and continuing through to contemporary artistic innovations. The text surveys key developments in Native American ring design; materials and methods of construction; definitions for historical and vintage rings; master innovators; and the transition from craft to wearable art since 1980. Shortly after the Civil War, Native American artisans began making silver rings set with turquoise, coral, jet, mother-of-pearl, and colored shell, adding lapis, malachite, onyx, and petrified wood over the decades. More recently, artisans began utilizing gold and such non-traditional settings as opals and diamonds, among others. Works by Navajo (also known as Dine) and Pueblo artists are featured, although Apache, Northern Cheyenne, and Sonoran Desert Native jewelers are also included. A guide to valuation issues and resources is offered for collectors.
Paula Baxter, author of the first published Encyclopedia of Native American Jewelry, also wrote Southwest Silver Jewelry and Southwestern Indian Rings. A former art librarian and curator, she now teaches college in the New York metro area.