Cover image for Encyclopedia of Native American jewelry : a guide to history, people, and terms
Encyclopedia of Native American jewelry : a guide to history, people, and terms
Baxter, Paula A.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Phoenix : Oryx Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xlvi, 242 pages : illustrations, maps ; 26 cm
General Note:
Maps on lining papers.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E98.J48 B38 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



This new guide is the first to explore all facets of Native American jewelry--its history, variety, and quality--in one convenient resource. With coverage beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, this resource includes artists, techniques, materials, motifs, and more. The encyclopedia opens with helpful introductory essay to acquaint the reader with the subject. More than 350 entries and over 80 photos make this new encyclopedia and exceptional value.

Author Notes

PAULA BAXTER is the curator of the Art & Architecture Collection at the New York Public Library's Humanities and Social Science Library. She has published articles on Native American jewelry in various publications, including American Indian Art Magazine and Antiques Magazine .

ALLISON BIRD-ROMERO is a well-known researcher and writer on Native American art and the author of an important book on Southwestern Indian jewelry, The Heart of the Dragonfly .

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

With the increased awareness of Native American cultural contributions, it is not surprising to see a reference work on the topic of Native American jewelry. What is surprising is that we have waited so long for such a fine contribution to the topic. Baxter, curator of the Art and Architecture Collection at New York Public Library's Humanities and Society Library, and her coauthor, researcher Bird-Romero, define jewelry as any object created as a decorative attachment for the body. They concentrate on native-made jewelry created after 1776 for sale in the "ethnic arts marketplace," with emphasis on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The authors begin with a series of short survey essays on topics such as the history of modern Native American jewelry, the people (artists and organizations), materials and forms, techniques, and design motifs. These five essays help to orientate the reader to the 350 A^-Z entries that follow. Though the cultures and artists of Eastern Woodlands, Midwestern Plains, Northwest Coast, and northern regions are included, the book is heavily centered on the American Southwest. Well-written, reader-friendly articles, which do not include pronunciation guides, define and describe each topic. Entries range in length from short (one to two paragraphs on people or materials like Horn or Nephrite) to five pages on regional art (Northwest Coast native jewelry). Longer entries contain see also references and lists for further reading. Whenever possible, the authors have included Internet addresses for additional information. Some 80 black-and-white photographs accompany the text. The photographs are sometimes a little dark and difficult to see. There are two appendixes. The first contains the addresses and e-mails of collections and exhibitions of Native American jewelry in Canada and the U.S. The second contains information on the wear and care of Native American jewelry. There are also a lengthy bibliography, an author index, and a subject index. Public and academic libraries will find this title useful because there are few books written wholly on Indian jewelry. The only other book with a similar scope is Lois Sherr Dubin's North American Indian Jewelry and Adornment (Abrams, 1999), which has better illustrations, but the text is arranged by geographical regions. Overall, Encyclopedia of Native American Jewelry is a much more usable and accessible work for reference collections.

Library Journal Review

The bonanza years of Native American jewelry may not be over, with its praises being sung by such recent publications as the St. James Guide to Native North American Artists (LJ 12/97) and Lois Dubin's very fine North American Indian Jewelry and Adornment (LJ 8/99). This encyclopedia is intended for ready reference and probably won't appeal to those wanting detailed tribal history, lush color photos, or how-to instructions. But for a quick definition of "heishi" or "sodalite," to find which tribe Charles Loloma belonged to, or to get an overview of Iroquois jewelry, it will suffice. A lengthy introduction gives a basic history and basis for design. Hundreds of artists receive brief entries, as do stones, methods, and tribes; readers will also find maps, guides to selected topics, collections and exhibitions, and the appropriate care of jewelry; and artist and subject indexes. Some entries give short shrift to important points, e.g., wampum was made into the late 1800s and largely by white craftspeople, notably the Campbell family, for sale to Indians, and gorgets were not an Indian invention but were adapted from the neckpiece of English armor. TradersDa very important crewDare mentioned mostly by last names only, while some tribes, like the Cherokee, or noted families, like the Clarks, are not given their own entry at all. The emphasis is largely on Southwestern jewelry, and most of the illustrations are of Southwestern work. Still, to fill a void in a larger art or Native American collection or where there is interest, this is certainly a reasonable purchase. [Baxter, curator of the Art and Architecture Collection, NYPL, is a former LJ reviewerDEd.]DGay Neale, Meredithville, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Guide to Selected Topics
Introduction Encyclopedia of Native American Jewelry Appendix
1 Collections and Exhibitions of Native American Jewelry Appendix
2 A Note on the Wear, Care, and Selection of Native American Jewelry
Artist Index
Subject Index