This beautiful coral needlepoint cluster ring was finely handcrafted by Zuni artists. It is a fine representation of the traditional Zuni jewelry style of needlepoint, and showcases a feminine arrangement of extremely fine-cut red coral gemstones.
This ring is a must-have for your Native American jewelry collection.
- Ring handcrafted by Native American artists of the Zuni Pueblo
- Sterling silver
- Needlepoint clusterwork
- Ring measures 1-3/8” wide x 1-1/2L
- Size 5-3/4
- Comes with a signed Certificate of Authenticity
Handcrafted works of Native American art require special care. For more information about proper care and cleaning, please read our Care Guide.
This coral needlepoint ring was handcrafted in sterling silver by skilled Native American artists. For centuries these artists have fashioned gemstones, stone, and shell into lasting jewelry pieces. Since learning silversmithing in the 19th century, Native American artists have been unmatched in their ability to arrange gemstones in sterling silver. From clusterwork to channel inlay, these artists have pioneered distinctive styles that showcase their lapidary and silversmithing excellence.
For centuries, Native people had been fashioning beads from shells like spiny oyster, and the deep red Mediterranean coral quickly became a prized material. Santo Domingo Pueblo incorporated coral into heishi bead necklaces used for trade or adornment. Hopi, Zuni, and Navajo artists used the gem for ornament, and in necklaces worn in ceremonial dances. Coral was first set in silver in the late 19th century after the Navajo, Zuni, and Pueblo people learned silversmithing.
In the 1930s, traders encouraged its use by supplying it to Native artists, particularly the Zuni. Red is a sacred color for the Zuni, and they believe coral brings good luck and longevity to the wearer. Native Americans also consider the gem a sign of wealth and status because of its expense and rarity. Whether used alone or in combination with other valuable gems like turquoise, coral remains one of the iconic gemstones of Native American jewelry in the Southwest.
Clusterwork is a jewelry style that is unique to the Zuni people, and not found anywhere else in the world. Early Zuni jewelry resembled Navajo silverwork, but in the 1920s and 1930s, Zuni artisans developed a signature style that involved setting large groups of hand-cut gemstones into extremely intricate settings. The finely cut gems were often arranged in beautiful patterns that resembled flowers, snowflakes, or wagon wheels.
Though Zuni clusterwork is most closely associated with turquoise, jet, and coral, any gemstone may be used.
Petit point and needlepoint are two types of Zuni clusterwork and can be distinguished by the shape and size of the gemstones. Petit point refers to gems cut into round, oval, rectangle, pear, or square shapes, while needlepoint refers to gems that have been cut into a thin sliver or needle shape.
Clusterwork is an extremely time-consuming process, and fewer and fewer artists are taking the time to hand-cut their gemstones. A piece of Zuni cluster jewelry is an exquisite work of wearable art that showcases the unmatched lapidary skills of Zuni artists, and will be an heirloom for generations to come.Read our Native American Jewelry
At Shumakolowa Native Arts, we guarantee that your purchase is an original and authentic work handcrafted by Native American artists as defined by the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990. We ask our artists to complete an extensive certification process, and to provide a CIB (Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood) card and other documentation of their Native American heritage. Our team of experts carefully inspects every product to guarantee it is handcrafted using traditional, sustainable processes, and natural materials of only the highest quality. We record the place and date of each purchase and pride ourselves in paying a fair price that allows artists to make a living practicing their craft.
Every work of handcrafted art comes with a Certificate of Authenticity signed by an artist or buyer. At a time when many commercially made products are being sold as handcrafted Native American art, our in-depth purchase process allows us to guarantee the authenticity of every unique piece of fine art we offer. For more than 35 years, we have made it a priority to visit artists in their studio or home to purchase their latest handcrafted pieces and learn about their work. We have developed lasting relationships with artists, as well as dealers and collectors, and we take pride in being a trusted destination for fine Native American art.