Van Riper, Anglo
Paula says - "This item shows design characteristics and workmanship of being Anglo made but in fact is was made by Anglo silversmith Monica Van Riper. We are not selling it as Native American made."
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?
With silver overlay, there are two layers of silver - the top layer is a scene, figures, or symbols meticulously cut out and then placed over a solid silver bottom layer.
The bottom layer is the background behind the cutouts and is traditionally darkened (oxidized) for contrast. Navajo silversmiths typically leave the background smooth while Hopi usually etch the background with hashmarks.
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.
Native American Bear Symbolism
Bear is considered the most powerful of all of the animals and is one of the most popular subjects of Native American carvers. Bear is a spiritual guide and represents strength and self-knowledge. Bear has supernatural powers and great healing powers. Bear is a symbol deliberate action, introspection, soul and insight for the past and the future. The Bear is the guardian of the West an is one of the animals of the Six Directions. Bears are the main figure in the Mountain Way, an important Anglo ceremony. Bear claws are a traditional adornment to pendants and bracelets.