Aztec Mayan Inca Jewelry Reproductions
Jewelry making developed in the Americas 5,000 years ago. Large amounts of gold was easily accessible, and the Aztecs, Mixtecs, Mayans, Mochica and Inca created beautiful pieces of jewelry. With the Mochica culture, goldwork flourished. The pieces are no longer simple metalwork, but are now masterful examples of jewelry making. Pieces are sophisticated in their design, and feature inlays of turquoise, mother of pearl, spondylus shell, and amethyst. Among the Aztecs, only nobility wore gold jewelry, as it showed their rank, power, and wealth. Gold jewelry was most common in the Aztec Empire and was often decorated with feathers from Quetzal birds and others. The Emperor and his High Priests would be nearly completely covered in jewelry when making public appearances. Although gold was the most common and a popular material used in Aztec jewelry, Jade, Turquoise, and certain feathers were considered more valuable. In addition to adornment and status, the Aztecs also used jewelry in sacrifices to appease the gods. Priests also used gem-encrusted daggers to perform animal and human sacrifices. At the peak of their civilization, the Maya were making jewelry from jade, gold, silver, bronze, and copper, and also traded in precious gems.