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Navajo Silver

The Navajo use primarily silver and turquoise to make jewelry. To the Southwest tribes and even parts of Mexico, turquoise’s color symbolized “the blue of water and the green of growing vegetation, essential conditions for life” (Furst and Furst 1982, 37). Silverworking began after contact with the Spanish, from whom the Navajo stole and traded. By the 1870s, Navajo silversmiths were making jewelry from silver and learning to set stones, particularly turquoise. The Zunis eventually also began creating silver jewelry and created more delicate and detailed designs with turquoise (Furst and Furst 1982, 37-38).