Totems to Turquoise

October 30, 2004 — July 10, 2005


A round article of jewelry made of turquoise and other materials, with a designed composed of different geometric shapes.
For thousands of years, the Native peoples of North America have made extraordinary jewelry and other adornments. Today throughout the continent that tradition is still alive—and vibrant.

Native jewelry employs a visual language that communicates on many levels. Bracelets, belts, and rings embody complex cultural beliefs and symbols, but in miniature. Like other Native arts, jewelry provides evidence of a rich, living tradition, passed down from elders and mentors to the next generation. Today's talented artists respect age-old traditions—and yet reinvent them in exciting and sometimes surprising new ways.

The educational materials and programs for the Totems to Turquoise: Native North American Jewelry Arts of the Northwest and Southwest exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History were supported in part by:

Barbara G. Fleischman
Phylis P. Fogelson