Old West Jewelry: Bullriding, the Pony Express, and Other Great Symbols of the Frontier

Old West Jewelry: Bullriding, the Pony Express, and Other Great Symbols of the Frontier

Old West jewelry heralds a rich history after the Civil War and continues to inspire countless folks today to seek one of the fascinating times in US history. Following the Civil War, the building of railroads to the West opened enormous portions of the region to population and economic development.

Thousands of white settlers crossed the Mississippi to mine, farm, and ranch. Promoters of all-black Western cities misled African American residents from the Deep South that success could be found there. Instead, Chinese railroad workers contributed to the region’s population’s diversity.

The Great Plains were altered by settlement from the east. Farmers plowed the natural grasses to cultivate wheat and other crops, nearly eradicating the vast herds of American bison that roamed the plains. As the railroad provided a viable means of transporting cattle to market, the cattle industry grew prominent.

The disappearance of bison and the expansion of white settlements had a significant impact on the lives of Native Americans living in the West. Despite occasional wins, the American Indians appeared condemned to defeat by the increased numbers of settlers and the US government’s military force in the subsequent confrontations. As a result, most American Indians were confined to reservations by the 1880s, generally in areas of the West that were unappealing to European immigrants.

The cowboy became a symbol for the late-nineteenth-century West, frequently represented as a glamorous or heroic person in popular culture. The heroic white cowboy stereotype, on the other hand, is far from accurate. Spanish vaqueros, who had brought cattle to Mexico centuries before, were the first cowboys.

Black cowboys also rode the range. Furthermore, the cowboy’s existence was anything from glamorous, including long, hard hours of labor, terrible living conditions, and financial difficulty.

The cowboy myth is just one of several that have impacted our perceptions of the West in the late nineteenth century. Some historians have recently shifted their perspectives away from the traditional idea of the West as a frontier.  

They’ve started writing about the West as a cultural crossroads where different groups fought for property, profit, and cultural domination. Examine the materials in this collection and consider these various perspectives on Western history.

The Symbolism of Old West Jewelry

Stagecoach Charm

Sterling Silver 3-D Stagecoach Charm

Old West jewelry like the stagecoach charm is inspired by one of the best-known symbols of the American West; it has its roots in New England. Concord coaches, first created in the 1820s, featured a unique leather-strap suspension that provided a rocking motion over uneven roads, making it easier on both passengers and horses.

Before the vehicle, the Abbot Downing Concord Coach carried passengers and mail in New Hampshire and Maine in 1891. Stagecoach arose from the deregulation of the British express coach industry in the early 1980s. Still, its roots can be traced back to 1976, when Ann Gloag and her husband Robin Gloag founded Gloagtrotter, a small recreational vehicle and minibus hire company in Perth, Scotland.

Old West Jewelry: Arabian Horse Charm

Sterling Silver 3-D Arabian Horse Charm

Isn’t it true that a horse was just a horse in the Old West? Nobody cared about its pedigree if it had four hooves and a smidgeon of “horse sense,” did they? Both yes and no.

People utilized different horse breeds for diverse purposes, much as they do today, and there was a more comprehensive range of horse types and functions than most people think.

Some of the most prevalent horse breeds found West of the Mississippi River, excluding draft horses, ponies, and mules (covered in other posts). This isn’t an exhaustive list; it’s just a rundown of the breeds that most people are familiar with.

Old West jewelry like the Arabian hose charms are inspired by the world’s oldest true breed with a long and storied history as cherished mounts of royalty and European military horses before the first Arabian arrived in the United States as a gift to President George Washington.

General Ulysses S. Grant received a pair of stallions from the Sultan of Turkey in 1877 and bred them to Arabian mares brought from England. A handful was utilized as cavalry mounts during the Civil War, but the bulk enjoyed lives of luxury among the affluent of the Old West.

Old West Jewelry: Pueblo House Charm

American Indians who reside in pueblos and have a long agricultural history are Pueblo Indians. Because they are the progenitors of today’s Pueblo people, ancient Pueblo Indians are frequently referred to as the “ancestral Pueblo.”

Anasazi is another name for the ancestral Pueblo people. We refer to all Pueblo people throughout history, including those who lived long ago, as “Pueblo people” or “Pueblo Indians” throughout this history.

The Spanish word for “village” or “town” is pueblo. Old West jewelry like the Pueblo house charms are inspired by the pueblo, a name denoting a village in the Southwest. These extraordinary homes comprise stone, adobe, and wood.

The dwellings are one or more stories tall and have flat roofs. For almost 1,000 years, Pueblo people have lived in this form of structure. The Mesa Verde region is found in the Southwest’s Four Corners region because it is the only spot in the country where the four states met.

Long grasses for thatching and buffalo hide to cover their dwellings were unavailable to Indians in far west Texas. However, they did have mud, rock, and straw, and they built their adobe houses in pueblos using these items.

Adobe is a hard brick-like material made from mud and straw combined and cured. These bricks were placed to form the house’s walls by the Pueblo people. Gaps between the brickwork were filled with extra mud to keep out bugs and other unpleasant pests and stop the rain and wind.

Bull Rider Charm

Sterling silver bull rider charms are inspired by the majestic bull riding competition, which evolved from charreadas, ranch, and horsemanship competitions held on the haciendas of Old Mexico. Bull riding, known initially as jaripeo, was a type of bullfighting in which riders would ride the bull to death.

It later evolved into a competition where competitors rode the bull until it became tired and stopped bucking. Tierra Caliente is the most prevalent form; Charro horse riders only ride small bulls or huge calves. Finally, Colima is the most lethal and complex style due to the rider’s position being that they can pitch forward onto the bull’s horns.

The charreada-style rivalry grew widespread in the Southwest by the mid-nineteenth century, especially in Texas and California, where Mexican and Anglo ranch men worked alongside. The Lone Star Fair in Corpus Christi, Texas, was the first Anglo-American organized event to feature charreada-style bull combat in 1852.

The event was headlined by Don Camarena, a matador from Mexico City. Jaripeo was only a side event, yet it was so popular that it made headlines in newspapers as far away as New Orleans. In addition, wild West shows began to include steer riding in their acts about this period, as steers were far more straightforward to handle than bulls.

The charreada-style rivalry grew widespread in the Southwest by the mid-nineteenth century, especially in Texas and California, where Mexican and Anglo ranch men worked alongside. The Lone Star Fair in Corpus Christi, Texas, was the first Anglo-American organized event to feature charreada-style bull combat in 1852.

The event was headlined by Don Camarena, a matador from Mexico City. Jaripeo was only a side event, yet it was so popular that it made headlines in newspapers as far away as New Orleans. In addition, wild West shows began to include steer riding in their acts about this period, as steers were far more straightforward to handle than bulls.

Pony Express Charm

Sterling Silver 3-D Pony Express Charm

Until October 1861, the Pony Express operated as a system of continuous horse-and-rider relays between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California, and Sacramento to San Francisco, California, by steamer, delivered US mail.

Old West jewelry like the Pony Express charms were inspired by the enterprise, and its most legendary riders captivated the national vision as one of the most audacious and colorful chapters in the history of the American West, despite its short financial success.

As national tensions rose in the run-up to the Civil War, timely delivery of news became critical, and the regular 24-day delivery schedule from Missouri to the West Coast was no longer adequate. The proposal for a faster system is commonly assigned to California Senator William M. Gwin, who is said to have proposed it to the private freighting business Russell, Majors, and Waddell.

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