The Navajo are the largest tribe of North American Indians. It is said the art of Navajo jewelry silversmith was introduced to the Navajo while in captivity at Fort Sumner in Eastern New Mexico in 1864. During that time it's possible that Atsidi Saani learned the craft of silversmith. By the 1880 Navajo silversmiths we creating handmade Navajo jewelry including bracelets, tobacco flasks, necklaces, bow guards and eventually evolved into earrings, buckles, bolos, hair ornaments and pins. Also, in the 1880's turquoise jewelry started to appear inlayed in the Navajo's sterling silver jewelry. Turquoise had been used in jewelry by the Navajo for hundreds of years, but not inset into the silver.
Navajo jewelry of Today:
The amazing transformation of Navajo jewelry designs can be seen as the tools and process of the Navajo artisans have changed over the years. The 100 plus yeas of change in economic and cultural influences have influenced Navajo jewelry, although much of the Navajo jewelry continues to be handcrafted as it has for hundreds of years.
As, the global marketplace has expanded over the last decade so has the demand for handmade Navajo jewelry. Collectors are able to get beautiful handcrafted turquoise silver jewelry pieces that are unique and almost one of a kind. It's a nice change for people who are tired of having the same jewelry pieces as everyone else. The costs for most handmade Navajo Jewelry pieces are quite reasonable compared to other handcrafted pieces of comparable beauty. Plus, the style, history and culture is not comparable to any in the world.