Black Hills Gold Jewelry

Black Hills gold jewelry is known to many as handcrafted, heirloom jewelry distinguishable by its tri-colored gold leaves and grapes. Thorpe is a signature name and style of Black Hills gold jewelry and was actually a third-generation goldsmith and the grandson of S.T. Butler, credited as the father of Black Hills gold jewelry. The history of this heirloom jewelry dates as far back as the 1800’s and in its own way played a major role in the last of the Indian War.

The Black Hills encompasses a small mountain range extending from the western portion of South Dakota into Wyoming. For hundreds of years Native American Indian tribes including the Cheyenne, Lakota, and Sioux Indians have inhabited the area. The area was held sacred by the Lakota and they believed the Black Hills to be the center of the world. During the gold rush, it most certainly was the center of the western world. Gold was discovered in the late 1860s and as word was spread, white settlement increased. General Custer led an expedition into the Black Hills in 1874, which began a final conflict in the Indian War that lasted two years. The white settlement continued to increase and gold and silver mining became a major economic focus.



Though the Lakota were defeated in the war, the government offered to purchase the land known as the Black Hills. This particular purchase is still under debate to this day and remuneration has never been made.  There have been numerous federal court rulings regarding the settlement of the Black Hills and some rulings have even been made regarding Black Hills gold jewelry. In fact, in the 1980s, the Supreme Court ruled that for a manufacturer to call its jewelry Black Hills gold jewelry, it must be made in the Black Hills. Landstrom, who purchased Thorpe’s company in 1995, is the largest modern-day manufacturer of Black Hills gold jewelry and continues to manufacture many of Thorpe’s styles of jewelry.

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