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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Silver Eagle Gallery is a Family Tradition

Oct 31, 2016 01:40PM ● By Yvette Lyn

The Nelson family in the Naples gallery with two of their favorite Navajo silversmiths from Arizona. From left: Craig, Heather and Deborah Nelson, Mary and Everett Teller, and Ben Nelson.

For 42 years, the Nelson family, owners of Silver Eagle Gallery on Fifth Avenue South and the Silver Eagle Gallery in Highlands, North Carolina, have been realizing the value and benefits of working together.

Silver Eagle began in Wisconsin in 1974 as the dream of Craig and Deborah Nelson. The evolution of the Native American gallery was the result of the connection that Craig and Deborah saw between Native American silver jewelry, spirituality and their customs. “The symbolism in the art of Native Americans represents their beliefs, honors their families and brings beauty to the world,” says Deborah, who reflects upon a lifetime of learning about the history, art and culture of indigenous people. “From the beginning, Craig and I knew we wanted to present the handmade work of talented artists in a way that avoids clichés and stereotypical thinking,” advises Deborah.

A second gallery was opened in Naples in 1996. In 2004, another gallery was added in Highlands, North Carolina. The following year, the Wisconsin gallery was sold to gallery employees.

Silver Eagle officially became a family business when son Ben, daughter Heather and daughter-in-law Mia became gallery managers and buyers. Craig and Deborah were enthusiastic about the new energy and original ideas the younger generation of Nelsons brought to the business.

Years of developing relationships with Native American artists and traders helped the Nelson’s build an impressive collection and exceptional inventory of handcrafted sterling silver jewelry for men and women, including bracelets, earrings, pendants, rings, belt buckles and necklaces. Pieces are handcrafted from sterling silver, American turquoise, Mediterranean red coral, gaspeite, onyx, mother of pearl, spiny oyster shell, lapis lazuli, malachite, tiger’s eye, opal and many other treasures from Earth. Top Native American artists from tribes that include the Navajo, Hopi, Santo Domingo and Zuni are well represented.

In addition to the huge selection of jewelry, Silver Eagle’s gem and mineral gallery is extensive. Crystals range from tiny points to 400-pound specimens. Rare minerals, rocks, healing crystals, chakra stones and fossils for meditation, healing and display are found in abundance. Sage, natural incense, Himalayan salt lamps, knives, metaphysical books and other items are also available.  

Today, both galleries with their impressive collection of art and jewelry, handmade by more than 200 Native America artists from more than 20 tribes, attract customers interested in geology, science, metaphysics, healing crystals and Native American Art. “Treasures from the Earth and metaphysical items work so well with indigenous art. We are happy our family shares the dream of bringing beauty, spirituality, and healing to our customers,” says Deborah.

Silver Eagle Gallery locations include 850 Fifth Ave. S., in Naples, and 370 Main St., in Highlands, NC. For more information, call 239-403-3033 or 828-526-5190 or visit

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