Native Americans have always adorned their bodies with artwork. One aspect they have mastered is crafting jewelry. As seen in most vintage Indian jewelry stores, the pieces are rich with symbolism. With nature as a popular theme, animal prints and figures are usually featured in vintage Indian jewelry. Aside from these, other natural elements are highlighted like the seasons and greenery. Messages or inspirations are hallmarked from simple shapes to intricate carvings.
Usually with paws as moldings, bears are seen by natives as creatures exerting immense power. Respectful to its inner and physical strength, bears also symbolize leadership and protection. Motherhood is also conveyed. Airborne eagles are believed to have a close connection to the heavens. Natives agree that these creatures bear prayers to God. Courage and prestige are attributed to eagles as well.
A lot of vintage pendants and pins are in the form of a butterfly. The beauty of its metamorphic processes encourages spiritual transformation. Butterflies inspire settling down or accepting change. Circles represent life or diverse cycles. The medicine wheel in four colors (usually black, white, red and yellow) is patterned after the seasons and the underlying significance of changes. Birth through death or the four major natural elements are also depicted in some variations.
These representations are carved or printed into various native objects. From carefully weaved fabrics to meticulously painted instruments, these symbols depict the significant Indian heritage. By gaining inspiration from symbols in picking accessories, the wearer richly preserves and embraces the culture.