“One can only believe entirely, perhaps, in what one cannot see."”
Native Americans from the Bering Sea region have always believed that everything in nature is not only physical, but also has a powerful spirit. Many archeological sites show that, as early as 10,000 years ago, Paleo Native Americans were wearing earrings made from natural materials such as abalone, freshwater pearls, walrus and mammoth ivory, found pebbles, shells, etc. These earrings were thought to possess special powers of protection associated with the spirit of the piece. (Note that the shimmer seen in abalone shell, pearls and in the fringes of weavings is considered a manifestation of the spiritual power of the garment or adornment.)
When the Russians began to explore and trade in this region in 1740, it was natural for the Native Americans to begin to use the new trade goods such as beads, in conjunction with their older natural materials, for jewelry such as earrings. The design of these earrings was greatly influenced by Russian jewelry.
The Tlingits, especially, began to design and wear long earrings made in the Russian tradition – with mammoth and walrus ivory beads, and abalone shell, as well as gemstones such as lapis.
Our Tlingit earrings are made with such materials: A distinctly Russian filigree Sterling Silver dangle hosts a gorgeous blue/green opal, from which hangs a light, 15,000 year old Fossil Mammoth Ivory and Sterling Silver bead. (The original earrings (in the Hermitage) had abalone shell.) A classic pair of Russian-influenced Tlingit earrings for any dress-up evening.
Available in Sterling Silver French earwires or posts. 1 ½ inch high, 1/2 inch wide.