Buffalo Bone - A Brief History

Buffalo Bone - A Brief History

The history behind Buffalo Bone as a jewelry medium is fascinating. It has been used to make jewelry for centuries. Before man learnt to communicate through words and written forms, he liked to possess and create beautiful pieces to gift to another as a gesture. Bone jewelry was one of the first kinds of adornment made by man. Animal bone was essentially one of the first ways of making jewelry.

The earliest jewelry was believed to have been made from naturally available materials like animal teeth, bone, various kinds of shells, carved wood and stone. What started out as a functional item was later on adapted as a decorative ornament and religious symbol. Bones of birds being small in size and hollow, required very little changes to be turned into jewelry like beads or pendants. Some of the earliest known ‘Venus figurines’ were made of carved bone, carved with stone tools. Using little more than a sharp edge of a stone as a saw, and a hard piece of slate or sandstone as a grinding surface, humans made a remarkable variety of beads and jewelry.

Bird bones were even made into whistling instruments, these were prized by shamans to summon or dismiss spirits. Snake vertebrae were like ready-made beads and just needed a good cleaning before taking form of a beautiful necklace. Deer and sheep hooves were made into clackers by both the Scythic tribes of southern Russia before Christ’s birth and more recently by the American Indian tribes. 19th-century archaeologist Edouard Piette found roughly fashioned necklaces and bracelets made of bone, teeth, Mother-of –Pearl, shells and stone. They were strung together with a single piece of twine or a maybe a strip of animal sinew. This belonged to the Azilian culture dating back from around 17,800 to 6,500 BC.

Native American jewelry was quite developed in the pre-Columbian times. It included fine grinding of turquoise, coral and shell beads into smooth heishi necklaces and delicate craving of individual wood and bone beads. Pendants and jewelry made from bone developed into a fine art form with great importance being placed on every piece, many of which took years to make using stone tools. Each piece of jewelry has a story or meaning behind the design. The ‘Koru’ a traditional bone carving pendant, is an iconic symbol of New Zealand and represents the fern frond as it opens bringing life and purity to the world. It also stands for new beginnings, peace, re-growth and tranquility.

We are lux-ing it up a bit. 

Introducing our newest medium. It symbolizes abundance, provision, strength, stability and prosperity. 

This year-round design can be styled beautifully for winter, spring, summer, and fall.

Shop the Buffalo Bone Collection now!