Sterling Silver Overlay Storyteller Chip Inlay Barrettes
- $79 each
What is Storyteller Jewelry?
Storyteller jewelry, typically bracelets, pendants and pins, are made using the sterling silver overlay method, sometimes incorporating gold in the overlay. Two layers comprise the jewelry - the top layer is a scene, figures, or symbols meticulously cut out and then placed over a solid bottom layer. The bottom layer is the background behind the cutouts and is often textured or darkened (oxidized) for contrast. The two layers are then sweated together - the silver is heated until the two layers meld. The result is a 3-D picture with great depth and interest.
Storyteller jewelry often depicts scenes from life on the reservation, including animals like sheep, dogs and horses, buildings such as hogans and outhouses, mesas, trees, looms, kivas, wagans and even pickup trucks.
What is Chip Inlay?
Chip inlay is a method where cavities in jewelry are filled with a mixture of crushed stone, typically turquoise and coral, and epoxy resin. The piece is then polished smooth after the resin has hardened. Navajo Tommy Singer is credited for first using chip inlay in Native American jewelry.
What is Overlay?
Native American overlay pieces are made of two layers of sterling silver. The bottom layer is a solid piece while the top layer has a cutout design. The cutout layer is placed over the bottom layer and the two pieces are "sweated" together, heated so that they become one solid piece of sterling silver. The bottom layer, or background, that shows through the cut out portion of the top layer is often darkened for contrast.
Hopi silversmiths typically texture the background layer with hash marks while Navajo artists often leave the background smooth. Hopi artists tend to use geometric designs and symbols similar to those used in their pottery and baskets. Navajo silversmiths tend to create scenes depicting everyday life using people, animals, buildings and landscapes to tell a story - this style is called "overlay storyteller jewelry". Read more about overlay here.
The US Department of the Interior Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 and its recent Amendments require that items described as Native American or Indian be made by an enrolled member of a federally recognized tribe. Furthermore, government regulations suggest that all attributions include the Native American Indian's name, tribe and federal tribal enrollment number. Because it is impossible to identify the artist for many vintage items, even if they are authentic Indian made items, we cannot and will not use the words Native American or Indian in association with such pieces.