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February 23, 2024 2 min read

Zuni pieces from New Mexico have been gettin' real popular of late, but Cheryl has been collecting the art for years, and we've always loved it here at DDR. It's surprising how many people still don't know much about it though, so allow us to give y'all a lil' education…

The Zuni tribe are known for their delicate stone work called petit point which takes many hours to create. If you ever come across a beautifully intricate piece with hundreds of tiny stones, it's probably been made by one of their artisans. The craftsmanship is so impressive that these pieces are valued by the level of skill required to make the design, rather than the weight of the silver or the turquoise.

The Zuni people are also experts at inlay. We have a collection of pieces by two of the most renowned artisans, husband and wife Helen & Lincoln Zunie. In the mid-20th century when Western dressing was all the rage, they created a lot of cow and horse motifs, crafted using chip inlay style. We're so glad their vintage designs are finally getting the recognition they deserve, and we've no doubt these collectors items will just become more desirable as more people learn about their talent.

So how do ya spot a real Zuni piece? Artisans will usually use their initials to mark a piece rather than a symbol or their full name for starters. Plus they usually only work with turquoise, coral, mother of pearl or onyx. They never work without stones though, so if you catch sight of a plain sterling silver design it's likely not Zuni at all. Their bezels are much smaller than the norm too. Pretty much if it looks super intricate and really hard to recreate, it's probably the work of a master Zuni artisan!

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