Genuine handmade Native American piece comes directly from the Southwestern U.S. The use of gemstones for personal adornment by Southwestern native peoples dates from prehistoric times, and the use of silver by the Navajo, Zuni, and Hopi is almost 100 years old.
The organic gem coral is the skeleton of coral polyps which live in the sea. Dull when harvested, it can be polished to a high shine. Red and pink varieties are generally found in warm Asian and Mediterranean waters. Coral has been carved in China for 2,000 years and was used medicinally and as an amulet in other ancient cultures. Sea bamboo is a vivid red gem from the coral family. Fossilized coral dates from the Ordovician period of prehistory and displays beautiful colors and a gorgeous starburst pattern when polished.
Shining black jet is dense lignite, a variety of coal.
Malachite is a shining copper ore with swirling islands of rich green color. Used since ancient Egyptian times as pigment for cosmetics, dyes and paints, malachite's primary use today is still ornamental. Popularized in modern times in 19th century Europe, it was worn as protection against the "evil eye." Much of today's fine malachite is mined in the Congo.
Shells are mineral structures formed by aquatic creatures and land mollusks. Lustrous shells including mother-of-pearl have been carved into cameos and buttons since antiquity. The beauty and variety of shells make them a sought-after decorative material.
Beautiful turquoise is a phosphate mineral popular all over the world. Mined since 5000 BC, it is one of the first gemstones known to be used by humans. Color variation from sky-blue to medium green is affected by differing amounts of copper and iron, more copper giving the stone a bluer color and more iron a greener one. Beautiful light blue turquoise is mined in Northern Iran and other varieties occur in Mexico, the United States and elsewhere.