History of Navajo Jewelry
Throughout the years, the Navajo tribe has used turquoise jewelry both as adornment and in trade. They learned jewelry making from the Spanish in the early 16th century, and continued to trade with them for silver and tools over the next two hundred years. The influence of the Spanish can be seen in the prevalence of the squash blossom necklace and in other prominent symbols in Native American jewelry. The first Navajo silversmith used silver in jewelry in the 1860’s, and taught other members of the Navajo tribe to incorporate silver into their jewelry creations. By the 1870’s, the Zuni tribe was using silver in their jewelry as well, and the Hopi tribe was quick to follow after that. Each tribe began to develop their own styles, which still survive today.