What are Jingle Cones?
Jingle Cones are metal discs that are rolled to create a cone shape, with one end narrower than the other. They have been traditionally used by Native Americans to sew on women’s dresses that are worn for the Jingle Dress Dance. These metal cones make a jingling sound when the dancer moves.
The original Jingle Cones were created by Native Americans from the lids of tobacco tins. These lids were rolled into cones and sewn on a fabric dress as a decoration. There are several versions of the story of how the original Jingle Dress and the dance it was made for came to be. The Jingle Dress and the accompanying dance were inspired by an Ojibwa Native American who dreamed about them around the turn of the 20th century. He or she provided instructions for how the dress was to be made and how to perform the dance. Some versions of the story say that the originator’s daughter or granddaughter was ill. This girl was healed during the performance of the new Jingle Dress Dance. Thus the Jingle Dress Dance was at first considered a healing dance.
Jingle Dance Today
The Jingle Dress and the dance have spread across the Native American community and are popular at Powwows today. The original tobacco lid cones have given way to commercially created metal cones that are already rolled and ready to sew on a dress. The number of jingle cones on a dress can vary depending on the pattern in which they are attached. Some women use 365 cones for each day of the year.
The popularity of the Jingle Dress Dance waned among Native Americans in the 1940s. But in the 1970s it experienced a resurgence and has continued to be popular at Native American Powwows. The dance has changed from a healing dance with prescribed dance steps. Today, Jingle Dancers exhibit very fast, intricate footwork and dresses are cut to allow the dancer to make quick direction changes and foot crossing dance steps.
Today, you can buy Jingle Cones in traditional silver as well as gold and copper colors. They are also available in different sizes, Adult (2.75” long) and Child (2” long).
Learn about The Jingle Dress Project at https://www.jingledressproject.com/