Image of Native American Jewelry by tribe.

Types Of Native American Jewelry By Tribe

Growing up, my Nana (mom’s mom) had a huge collection of Native American Jewelry. Here in Arizona, it is very easy to come by. As I got older and started to learn the history of our State and the Native American Tribes that thrived here, I became curious as to which tribe made each piece that I have inherited from her. This sparked an idea for my next blog post! So, I have decided to explore some of the most well-known tribes and the beautiful jewelry they create!

Native American Silver Jewelry

Before we get into each of the tribe’s style of jewelry, I want to tell you a little history of how silver came to be one of the most recognizable and commonly used “ingredients” for Native American jewelry.

Roughly 12,000 years ago, Native Americans crafted their jewelry out of shells, stone, and other natural materials. Animal and fish bones, white rocks, corals – all of these materials could be transformed into pendants, beads for jewelry and other decorations. During this time the Native Americans used their jewelry as currency or collateral when trading with the European settlers. It was only in the 19th century that Native Americans began to incorporate silver into their craftsmanship.

The first Native American silversmith was a man named Atsidi Sani who came from the Navajo tribe. Sometime in the 1850’s, he learned his craft from a Mexican man, Nakai Tsosi, to make harnesses for trade. As a silversmith, Atsidi Sani’s most magnificent works were conchos, bracelets and a variety of other jewelry. He eventually passed his knowledge to his four sons and even became a professional teacher of the craft.

It is said that the first time turquoise was used in combination with silver was sometime in the 1900’s by Atsidi Chon, another prominent figure in Navajo and Native American jewelry making.

Ever since then, silver and turquoise have been one of the most important and prominent parts of Native American jewelry crafting! Now, let’s take a deeper look at how this craft and styles have evolved for some of the well-known tribes in the Southwest.

The Navajo

Image of Navajo Inlay Dragonfly pendant from Pink Camel Boutique

Navajo Inlay Dragonfly pendant from Pink Camel Boutique.

Where else to begin than with the tribe of the first Native American silversmiths – the Navajo! The motifs most often found in Navajo jewelry are flowers, leaves, beads, and hand stamp work. The stones used in the jewelry are often large and chunky. Honestly, each one of them is just gorgeous!

The most unique piece of jewelry made by the Navajo tribe is the squash blossom necklace. Ever since the late 19th century, these necklaces have dominated the Navajo jewelry style. They are made up of beaded silver, squash blossom petal beads and the finishing touch is, of course, a naja pendant (in the shape of an inverted crescent). They are unique – not only among Native American jewelry but in the whole necklace sphere!

While the Zuni tribe first perfected Inlay style jewelry, many Navajo Indians have become some of the most prolific inlayers around. The craft of inlay starts with a piece of jewelry, usually in Sterling Silver, with channels or voids that allow the piece to be inlaid with endless combinations of colors and cuts of gemstones. Pink Camel Boutique is honored to be a home for some of the most beautiful pieces of Inlay jewelry from Navajo artisans.

The Hopi

Image of a Hopi Overlay bracelet.

Hopi Overlay Bracelet

The Hopi are the oldest Arizona residents, however, Hopi silversmithing is more of a recent craft. Much of the early Hopi jewelry was made from natural materials such as Turquoise, shells, wood, and seeds. It wasn’t until 1890 when Zuni silversmith Lanyard began trading his silver jewelry among the Hopi in return for their hand-woven native cotton textiles. Over time Lanyard taught his craft to a Hopi named Sikyatala.

Back in the 1930’s, the Hopi, started making their jewelry in the distinctive Overlay style. Overlay is a combination of two layers of sterling silver, similar in shape, with traditional designs carved in them. The bottom piece of silver would be oxidized, turning it black, while the top carved layer would be soldered on – the contrast between them makes the design pop, and it’s also very durable!

While the Hopi jewelry is mostly silver, turquoise also holds a special place. Turquoise holds a great deal of importance to the Native American culture, so it’s not surprising that even among the Hopi, the tribe whose most distinct style of jewelry is all silver, turquoise can still be found in some unique pieces of Hopi jewelry. Within the Hopi tribe, turquoise is said to ward off evil – bags of turquoise hung throughout the entire house deter this negative energy. As a protective stone, it was used by Hopi warriors when going into battle.

The Zuni

Image of a Zuni style bracelet

Zuni Bracelet.

What’s great about the Zuni tribe jewelry is that the stone designs are mostly inlaid, petit point and needlepoint. They are all cut, carved and crafted with the greatest of care. In the early 1800’s the Zuni learned to work with copper and brass salvaged from old kettles. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that a Navajo Silversmith Atsidi Chon introduced silver to the Zuni Tribe.

The most interesting thing about Zuni jewelry are the fetishes – no, it’s not what you think!

Image of a Zuni Bear Fetish

Zuni Bear Fetish

Fetishes are objects that hold a symbolic meaning – they’re used to attract luck, protection, and power. Fetishes are shaped in animal forms because it’s believed that an animal spirit resides in each one – that’s why stone fetishes were carved into the shape of animals. Mostly the little figurines are standalone pieces used for decoration, but, of course, they are also incorporated in jewelry designs.

These figurines are carved from a multitude of stones, with turquoise being the most sacred of all, and serpentine is most common. Of course, a fetish won’t work unless you care for it! The animal spirit hiding inside it must be nurtured. You can do this by combining it with shells, stones, or even arrowheads.

There are many, many more tribes with their own distinctive jewelry styles! This is only a small part of the story and I hope you enjoyed finding out a little history of how Native American tribes craft their jewelry. Today’s Native American jewelers craft their pieces by incorporating traditional designs, while also giving it a modern twist. Check out some of our products to see what modern Native American Jewelry looks like.

Do you have a favorite? I’d love to hear from you!


Anadarko, Oklahoma, U.S.A. - October 11, 2015: Woman dancing at the Kiowa Blackleggings Warrior Society Pow-wow.

Famous Native American Women in History

Hi, everyone! You may or may not know, but most of the artists I work with are Native American women. Working with such talented group of women, inspired me to learn more about some of the women that paved the way for the women that I am lucky enough to interact with. Our history has many intriguing contributions from famous Native American women. Pink Camel Boutique is my way of celebrating this heritage, so I thought it would be wonderful to tell you more about the history of Native American jewelry. It’s the perfect way to bring this culture to the forefront and how wearing it can remind you that no matter where you are and where you come from, you have the strength to do anything. Let’s get to it!

Annie Dodge Wauneka

In 1963, Annie Dodge Wauneka became the first Native American to win the Freedom Medal. She advocated for improvement in the education and health sector. She’s well known in the Navajo community, but I think that more people should be aware of her and her achievements.

Image of Annie Dodge Wauneka. One of the most famous Native American Woman in history.When she was just 8 years old in 1918, she witnessed an influenza outbreak. Annie, not the one to stand still in helplessness, assisted the staff in her boarding school with caring for the sick. Later in life, she was a member of the Navajo Tribal Council for 8 years, the second woman ever to be elected.

While she was on the council, she kept fighting against tuberculosis and even wrote a dictionary that translated the English words for modern medical practices into Navajo. Another area of healthcare Annie worked for was to care for pregnant women, infants, alcoholism, and regular eye and ear examinations.

Annie Dodge Wauneka was an amazing woman of great intelligence and drive whose passion was unstoppable! Luckily, this was recognized during her lifetime – in 1984 she was designated The Legendary Mother of the Navajo Nation by the Navajo Council.

Lyda Conley

Born way back in 1869, Lyda Conley was among the first Native American women attorneys. Coming from the Wyandot tribe, Lyda and her three sisters were working on protecting the Huron Cemetery in Kansas City. The sisters settled on the cemetery in a shack in order to prevent the sale of the land – they even used muskets!

After some time, Lyda appeared before the Supreme Court to argue that Native American burial grounds have a right to federal protection. Lyda kept fighting, and in 1916 the cemetery was finally made a federal park.

Lyda is buried at the side, which is today called Wyandot National Burial Ground and it’s also a National Historic Landmark.


Maria Tallchief

Image of ballerina Maria Tallchief. One of the most famous Native American Women.What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about ballet? Maybe it’s pink tutus, the Nutcracker, cute little girls, or the long tradition of Russian prima ballerinas.

Well, one of the first American prima ballerinas was a Native American woman from the Osage. Maria, whose Osage family name is really Ki He Kah Stah Tsa, was born in 1925 and moved to New York when she was just 17. There she became a dazzling star of the New York City Ballet, and eventually, she even married its co-founder, George Balanchine.

Maria spent her life not only as the most spectacular ballerina, but also speaking out against stereotypes, and she was even a director of the Indian Council Fire Achievement Award. In Oklahoma, Maria Tallchief day is officially June 29, and you can still see her twirling as one of the Five Moons sculptures at the Tulsa Historical Society.

Pine Leaf

Image of Native American Warrior Pine Leaf.Pine Leaf was one of the best warriors of the Crow tribe, and she also became a Chief. Born in the Gros Ventres nation around 1806, Pine Leaf was captured by the Crow people at 10 years old, so she grew up within the Crow tribe. Pine Leaf didn’t despair – since then she was raised by a Crow warrior and learned all the necessary skills of a great warrior.

Pine Leaf was an excellent horse rider, marksman, and she was an expert at field-dressing a buffalo. The moment she became recognized as a great warrior was after she defended her people during a raid by the Blackfoot. Pine Leaf earned her place on the council of chiefs as both a warrior and a hunter.

The First G. I. Janes

There are so many women hidden in history who fought in wars in one way or another. Women often worked in the Army in informal ways, but in this case, two Native American women were enlisted in the US army as scouts!

Nal-Kai and Muchacha (who real identity is not known) were discovered in 1886 military records by researcher Col. David C’de Baca. Not a lot is known about these women, except that they were enlisted in the army as Army Scouts by the 20th Regiment, U. S. Infantry, at Fort Wingate.

This is amazing because there’s proof women were officially a part of the army way back in 1886, and to make things better, these are Native Americans!

All these women emanate strength and passion. I hope the stories of these women brought a smile on your face and in some way inspired you to leave your footprint in history!

We all have a warrior within us!


May 6th upcoming event



MAY 6, 2018 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Join us for an afternoon of colorful repartee, drinks, hors d’oeuvre and the most unique shopping experience of the season. It will be an afternoon to remember with local vendors selling handcrafted items such as – jewelry, home textiles, vintage clothing, native botanicals, quality skincare, makeup lines and more!

Live Music by Young Mothers.
Photography by Passage Studios


Beauty of the Southwest Through the Eyes of DeeDee Hawash

Hi, everyone! I’ve been thinking a lot about what my first blog post should be, and after finding a moment alone from my kids and recharging my brain in a recent impromptu vacation with my husband I finally got it! I’ll tell you a little bit about me and how I started Pink Camel Boutique, share a few things that inspire me and how each is instrumental in selecting every piece of jewelry that Pink Camel Boutique has to offer.

Pink Camel Boutique…How it started

I’ve always been so absolutely in love with fashion and art. I will always remember crafting on the weekends with my mom, going to summer art camps, and never falling behind on the latest trends in fashion. It was no surprise that when it came time for college I would seek something to fulfill my passion. I was lucky enough to attend the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in LA where I graduated with a degree in Visual Communications.

While in school I had the privilege of working backstage at some of the top fashion shows in LA (like Chanel, Missoni, and Juicy Couture) and it was an amazing experience. I also had the opportunity to intern for a showroom where I learned the wholesale side of the business. I then went on to work for one of the showrooms top jewelry designers. The internship taught me so much about the fashion world including working with celebrities, stylists, and media publishers. For a while, I thought about being an event planner, but soon after all these experiences, I fell in love with a different dream – opening my own boutique!

When I met my husband, Jamal, he introduced me to a style of jewelry that I grew up with seeing here in the Southwest but never knew much about. His family has worked with Native American Jewelry in retail and wholesale for over 30 years. Most recently, the family business moved to Gallup, NM what some call the mecca of Indian Jewelry. There they work with Navajo designers to create the most beautiful Navajo Inlay Jewelry around. After learning more about the craft and culture behind the artists and their beautiful jewelry I knew I wanted to showcase something that is so special to the Southwest, the place I get to call home! This was (and still is!) perfect – I got to start something I could manage while staying home with my kids and fulfill my love for art, fashion, and styling.

After I was certain of the direction of my boutique, I still needed to choose the name. I wanted something truly beautiful and inspiring. As a native to Arizona, I’ve been blessed with seeing so many amazing sunsets and the colors of the sky. Being able to see pinks and purples at dusk and dawn is just amazing, it makes my heart skip every time. Another thing I wanted to incorporate in the name of the boutique was one of the most important and romantic moments of my life – my husband proposed to me on Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona. This played a big part in inspiring the name and thus Pink Camel Boutique was born!

Starting my own boutique also gave me the chance to make my own jewelry.

Image of Sedona, AZ in the Southwest.

Sedona, AZ.

What always inspires me is the beauty of the Southwest. If you’ve never traveled to the Southwest, you may only envision blowing dust and dry air. What you are missing is the sunsets that seem to paint the skies with yellow, orange, purple and pink, the beautiful hot pink blooms on the Cactus in the Spring, and Mountains so red you might think they are fake!

My favorite pieces to make are my suede and turquoise wraps and silver hoops. I love the mixture of textures and metals. But I am not alone in this endeavor – at Pink Camel Boutique, I work with a variety of designers. I source one of a kind jewelry directly from them and showcase their work. Collaborating with the artist themselves is very important to me!

Another thing that I love doing is finding different ways to photograph all the jewelry. Artistic expression through finding the best ways to present the jewelry is a very fulfilling experience.

I am so blessed to do something I truly love and that I get to share my passion with all of you. So, let me share with you some of the sights and some of the beauties of the Southwest that always inspire me:

Southwest Native American Culture

First of all, the coasts are not the be all and all when it comes to discovering the natures of America. I love a good beach, but nothing can compare to the natural beauty of Arizona.

Business owner in Nogales, Mexico.

Nogales, Mexico with my Mom and Dad.

Growing up I remember taking family road trips all over through Arizona, California, and even South of the Border to Mexico! We visited the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest National Park, Red Rock State Park, and so many sights that would just make your heart stop. Honestly, it can be overwhelming. When you look at what nature has made and realize that you are nothing more than a small part of this magnificent world – there is just no feeling like it.

Image of business owner and her mother at the grand canyon.

My Mom and I at The Grand Canyon.

What’s even more amazing about the Southwest is the Native American culture thriving throughout the area. It’s home to many tribes – Apache, Hopi, Navajo, Pueblo, and Zuni. Each tribe has their own unique culture and traditions, but there are some similarities between them.

This area holds many natural resources, one of them is Turquoise. This stone, also known as or “Doo tl’ izh ii” in Navajo, is common in Native American jewelry. My personal favorite is the Sleeping Beauty Turquoise. It even sounds like it’s straight out of a fairytale! The stone is pure sky blue and is extracted from the Sleeping Beauty Mine in Globe, Arizona. The mountain this mine is located in got its charming name because it looks like a sleeping woman laying on her back with her hands crossed over her chest.

I use only the best stones in my wraps, pendants, and earrings – the Sleeping Beauty is one that I love to use!

So, what other treasures does the Southwest hold?

The Grand Canyon

View from the train.

Mom and I on a train tour near the Grand Canyon.

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting these majestic cliffs, you know it only takes a second to feel the power of this natural phenomenon. Some may find it scary, but nearly everyone is blown away in awe.

Take a walk over the Skywalk located in the Grand Canyon West. There is nothing like seeing the immense power of nature while standing on the very edge of the Canyon.

You can ride a Century old Locomotive with the Grand Canyon Railway! When I was younger, my parents took my brother and I on this train. It was such an experience, and we felt like we were in the Wild West!


Chapel of The Holy Crossing Sedona, AZ with my Mom and Grandma (dad’s mom).

The Red Rocks of Sedona, Arizona

There is no word other than amazing to describe the Red Rocks. The whole area is steeped in history and beauty. The first humans to ever set their eyes and feet in the Sedona area lived way back in 4000 BC, and the first more advanced civilization dates back to between 900 and 1350 AD – how could anyone resist visiting such an ancient place!

If you ever take a trip to the Red Rock (I hope you do!), the one place you simply have to visit is the Montezuma’s Castle. It’s not too far from Sedona, and while you trek to the stunning castle, you can see many petroglyphs and pictographs written by ancient civilizations.

The castle itself is located inside a cliff about a hundred feet above the Verde Valley. Built in the 12th century, it’s made up of 20 rooms. From there the ancient inhabitants could view the fields where they grew corn, beans squash and cotton. I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful this ancient landmark is!


The Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona

The Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona.


Image of Business Owner with her family at the The Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona.

This picture was taken when we visited The Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona the week my mom passed. It was amazing to be with my family and remember the times I went with my Mom growing up.

People always say Sedona brings them such a spiritual experience. It seems as though the land will always find a way to speak to you. This was the first place I visited after my mom passed away and the connection I felt with her was so overwhelming. There were so many signs like Butterflies following me everywhere and visiting spots we used to go together as a family growing up. It was a moment in time I will never forget and cherish always.

Thank you for being here and for following Pink Camel Boutique, and I hope this has inspired you to visit the Southwest. I know I’m ready for a road trip myself!


Pink Camel - I;m a vendor

I’m a vendor!

Date: February 24, 2018

Time: 12pm – 6pm

Location: Valley Garden Center
1809 North 15th Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona

Handmade vendors only!

Sponsored by:

Pink Camel - past event