xiigya (Bracelet)

About this object

History of use

Metal has been used for Northwest Coast jewelry for at least two thousand years. Silver and gold arrived with the European explorers, first as trade and later as coin currency paid to Aboriginal labourers who were cannery and sawmill workers. Eventually a market developed for “Northwest Coast” silver and gold bracelets in the European population, a market that still exists and continues to grow. High-ranked women might wear several bracelets on both arms.

Specific techniques

Silver bracelets were created by hammering a coin into a bracelet shape, then engraving a family crest of Victorian scroll motif into the metal.

Physical description

Silver bracelet carved with face of a beaver in centre with its two front teeth displayed; the body and legs extend to each end. The bracelet closes with two clasp hooks that fit into a corresponding slot at back. Background and negative spaces are crosshatched. Inside is plain. Cheek areas of the animal have small oval shaped indentations.