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Jewelry

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Like many Northwest Coast peoples, the Nuxalk of Bella Coola believed that their first ancestors descended from the upper world of the Creator. These first Ones had the special ability to change from human to animal form and back again. Eventually Salmon, Raven, Bear, Wolf, Mink and the other first ancestors lost their ability to transform and remained in their human shape.

Stories, dances, names, crests and carvings became sacred and cherished possessions of individual families. Special prerogatives were validated and passed down through the generations in order to keep the memory of each family’s lineage alive.

Jewelry was an important element in the culture on the Northwest Coast. These objects of adornment communicated status as well as identifying an individual’s membership in a clan or family group. Clan emblems and crests are still important today and because of the stunning beauty of these images recreated in copper, silver and gold, they have become sought after art objects by collectors from around the globe.


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