Zephier - Lakota
About Native American authenticity.
How to Choose and Fit a Cuff Bracelet
NBS524 - $400 plus s/h
Mitchell Charles Zephier
Mitchell Zephier of Rapid City, South Dakota grew up on the Cheyenne River and Rosebud Indian reservations. In 1981 he founded Lakota Visions, traditional Lakota made Native American arts, crafts and jewelry from the plains states. He has mentored over 34 apprentices in metal-smithing and marketing. Family members and friends that work on Lakota Visions jewelry include his son Wakinyan Luta Zephier , Belle Starboy, Webster Two Hawk Jr., and Roger Dale Herron.
Mitch has won numerous awards including first place at Red Earth Show, several awards at the internationally prestigious Sante Fe Indian Market as well as presented his work at far off Native American venues like Schimutzun Celebration in Connecticut. He has also earned the South Dakota Governor's award.
Mitch has other forms of artistic expression. His album Cherish the Children won a National Native Music Award for Best Children's Album. Mitchell Zephier's latest venture is to team up with fellow artists to explore, on film this time, the issues that affect the lives of Native Young People in Cloud Horse Production's Lakota 4 Life, a Zephier inspired look at the issues, decisions, responsibilities and opportunities facing Native Youth today.
TURTLE - The turtle (KEYA) in Lakota culture is the guardian of life, patron of healing and controlled accidents. The turtle is wise and hears many things and does not tell anything. Its skin is like a shield so that arrows cannot wound it. The turtle is fierce in its attack on others. In legend KEYA allies himself with the thunderbeings in order to destroy the bad spirits that lurk in the water.
THE FOUR SACRED COLORS / MEDICINE WHEEL - Many Native Americans view the world as having four directions. Each direction has a special meaning and color associated with it. The Lakota use the colors black, red, yellow and white to represent the four directions. For some, the colors represent the four seasons and the changes we make on our journey through life. Every tribe and every person has their own beliefs and you should use what best represents what you believe.
The Medicine Wheel is an integral part of American Indian Spirituality. It is based on the four cardinal directions and the four sacred colors. The circle represents life and the four colors symbolize the four directions, the four races, the four seasons and the four Lakota virtues of generosity, bravery, fortitude, and wisdom. At the center of the circle is the eternal fire from which everything originates and everything returns.. Read more about Four Colors Medicine Wheel.
What is Cross Path?
One of the beliefs of the Navajo is that its people should remain within the boundaries of its Nation which happen to be four mountains. By staying with the Navajo Nation, the people will remain at one with Nature and spirit. And by remaining within these boundaries they are likely to meet all other Navajo within their lifetime. They say they will cross paths with all within the four corners.
100% solid silver won't tarnish but it is too soft to use for making jewelry - it could easily be scratched, dented and bent. Sterling silver has a small amount of one or more other metals usually copper, added to the silver. To be called sterling silver, the alloy must contain at least 92.5% pure silver. Sterling silver alloy is harder than pure silver but the added metals also can cause discoloration or tarnish.
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.