Lovebirds Bracelet With Abalone Inlay
In the 18th century when the Native cultures of the Northwest Coast were flourishing and the wealth of the fur trade was flowing throughout the world, a curious custom was born. When a man was mature and wealthy enough to seek a wife he had to look outside his clan, and had to receive permission of the woman’s uncle before he could court her and make his intentions known to her family. He announced his suit by giving her a gift. In more ancient time this gift could have been almost anything of value, and the higher the value the higher his status.
Among the Tlingit and Haida peoples of Alaska there are only two moieties, the Ravens and the Eagles. The gift of choice was a silver or gold bracelet, hand-carved with the symbol of both moieties, the Eagle and the Raven, hence Love Birds. This custom is very much alive and flourishing on the North West Coast and is the most frequently requested pattern we carve. We often use the word clan rather that moiety, but the correct term is moiety.
When a man meets a woman he is interested in, the first question asked is usually “Are you Raven or Eagle?”. If both are Eagles or Ravens they are as brother and sister, and the relationship dies right there, but if one is Raven and one Eagle sparks may fly!
Hand-carved Sterling Silver Lovebirds Bracelet with abalone inlay by Owen Walker
1.25 inch width tapering slightly to 1 inch. Price $650