1950s Zuni Blue Thunderbird Safety Pin Seed Bead Necklace Folk Art 24 inches long

1950s or 1960s Zuni Thunderbird Safety Pin Seed Bead Necklace 24 inches long. When resources were low Native Americans utilize whatever supplies they had available to make jewelry and crafts to sell or pawn. These were made to sell to local tourists out of safety pins and seed beads.

I don't know the Folk art tale of how the first safety pin necklace was made but I think it goes something like this, Government accidentally orders 50,000 safety pins in a ordering mix up. Government organization donates 49,000 safety pins to Native American tribe instead of food or supplies that they can actually use. For months crates of safety pins collecting dust in a storage room. Someone mentions the safety pins to local tribal artists and they noticed that small beads fit on the pins and then they create something beautiful yet simple and then they teach someone else how to make one. I have also seen a Squash Blossom version of the safety pin necklace. If you know more about the origin of the safety pin necklace let me know!

This one in particular was made by a jeweler or silversmith as they professionally soldered the ends of the rails that hold this bird together and they did a nice job on that. Since these designs were easy to replicate and had a Native American look to them in the 1970s Tandy leather sold a simple kit to make these and they were also in the Tandy crafts book although those are a copy of one like this. People collect this Native American Folk Art made with scraps and odd supplies. What could you make with 49,000 safety pins?

Strand 24 inches
Bird 3 by 3 inches

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