Zuni Inlaid Red Cardinal Earrings
Zuni Inlaid Red Cardinal Earrings
Zuni Inlaid Red Cardinal Earrings
Zuni Inlaid Red Cardinal Earrings
Zuni Inlaid Red Cardinal Earrings
Zuni Inlaid Red Cardinal Earrings

Zuni Inlaid Red Cardinal Earrings

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In some Native American tribes, cardinals are holy birds that bring and send messages.   Zuni jeweler, Quentin Quam, made these stunning red cardinal dangling sterling silver earrings.  The long, rectangular bottom is inlaid with three turquoise triangles on the top and bottom.  The red cardinal is inlaid red coral, jet, and gold-lip mother of pearl.  The flower is inlaid turquoise and red coral, with malachite leaves.  There is stamp work at the top and the bottom.  Inlaying on a domed surface is much more difficult than inlaying on a flat surface!  The top is shines, and they are on sterling silver ear wires.

Size: 3" H x .5" W - Inlaid bird section is 1.5" H x .5" W

Quintin Quam, Sr. is a well-known Zuni inlay jeweler.  We love his inlaid bird jewelry!  He was born in 1962 in Gallup, New Mexico at home because there were no hospitals in Gallup until the 1970s.  He was taught his jewelry and inlay skills by Sammy and Esther Guardian.

This type of Zuni inlay is made by sawing out two pieces of silver into the desired shape.  The area where the stones are inlaid are sawed out by hand (yes, really!).  The two pieces of silver are soldered together. If the piece is domed, this is done at this stage.  The stones are then cut, shaped, and placed into the areas that have been sawed out to create the design.  If there are engraved details, they are done at this stage.  The piece is then sanded and   polished.  This type of jewelry making is difficult and involved, which is why we do not see too many jewelers making it anymore.