The word Yei (pronounced “yay”) comes from “the Holy People” or Yeibicheii and refers to loving beings who contribute their healing energies to ceremony and mediate between the People and Great Spirit. The Yei spirit is also related to the concept of Talking God who speaks on behalf of the other Holy People. Growling God, Black God and Water Sprinkler were the first four Holy People encountered by the Navajo.
The meanings of Native American symbols can be broadly understood in simple terms but may differ amongst the Nations or cultures of the Native People.
An inlay refers to the process of cutting and polishing turquoise, shell, and other traditional stones before combining them into patterns and embedding them with metal. Southwestern Native American artists are especially recognized for their skills in inlay jewelry. There are several different techniques used in inlay design:
A "mosaic" inlay is when the stones are laid in the metal touching one another and are flush with the surface of the jewelry.
"Cobblestone" refers to the stones being uneven in height and size with beveled edges - closely resembling a cobblestone street.
Commonly seen, "channel" inlay indicates the use of metal spacers between the stone.
"Corn Row" inlay closely mimics the appearance of this harvested crop - neatly arranged parallel rows of stone with slightly rounded edges.
Found near Globe, Arizona, Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is easily one of the most recognizable North American turquoises. Due to its lack of matrix and brilliant, varying shades of blue Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is highly sought after. Sadly, the Sleeping Beauty mine closed in 2012 - causing both prices and demand to climb.
Exotic sounding Lapis Lazuli is a natural blue stone, the very best of which is found in Afghanistan where it has been mined since ancient times. Once powdered and used to paint illuminated manuscripts and as clothing dye for royals only, today lapis is a staple in the colorful fashion statements of Southwest fashionistas.
Authentic Handmade Native American Jewelry
Shop the Santa Fe Style Collection for striking contemporary jewelry, handcrafted by artisans who draw on the rich history of the Southwest.
This collection features trending artists popular in the Four Corners and loved by locals here in New Mexico. The jewelry featured here is a fusion of traditional techniques, passed hand-to-hand across generations, and modern artistry.