The Zuni people are famous for their needlepoint and inlay jewelry that can be found in shops locally, throughout the Southwest and on the Internet.
The Zuni name was given to them during the Spanish conquests. Their original name was the Ashiwi, and are believed to be direct descendents of the Ancient Pueblo people in American's Southwest. Currently the Zuni pueblo is the largest in New Mexico and many of the people are farmers, traders and crafter's and silversmiths. The Zuni take pride in that they continue to reside on the land of their ancestors that has been passed down to them from mother to daughter for hundreds of years.
The art of the Silversmith was introduced to the Zuni soon after that of the Navajo. Atsidi Saani, a Navajo learned silversmithing sometime during the captivity at Fort Sumnet in Eastern New Mexico in 1864 and he taught his sons and others the craft as well. During
that time it's possible that Atsidi Chon learned the craft of silversmithing. It is said that a Zuni man by the name of Lanyade paid Atsidi Chon the silversmith's craft with the payment of a horse. Lanyade is said to later instruct a Hopi man names Sikyatalain the craft as well during his travels trading and selling at the Hopi Mesa at Sichomovi.
The Zuni craftsman had already mastered working iron, wood, shells, pottery and copper. With the introduction of silversmithing there trading became greater. They also mastered the skill of stone inlay by using less of a stone they were able to make intricate designs and by cutting stones individually and setting them to fit close together in unique patterns . Another technique they masters is needlepoint. Small oval shaped stones with pointed ends are set on their sideways close to one another and side by side. The techniques is normally used with turquoise in creating necklaces or rings.
Zuni fetishis have become a well know collectable over the years. The artists cut stone carvings of miniature animals -Bears, birds, foxes, etc. By using different stones the details of the carvings are brought to life. Zuni Jewelers are also known for there beaded necklaces as well.