The creating of silver and turquoise jewelry became widspread by the early twentieth centry. Originally, it was the Navajo men who fashioned jewerly. However, Navajo women began workin the metal and turquoise as well when it became evident that there was an economic advantage to be gained by the whole family working together silversmithing. The Navajos saw the initial glimmers of possibility in making jewelry a livelihood.
Over the years jewelry has served three main purposes for the Navajo:
1. The wear jewelry to display their wealth. It is not a question of exhibiting personal wealth, but rather of revealing to the people at large ceremonial gathers, what wealth the family has.
2. They enjoy the beaty of the jewelry, its decorativeness, and the good feelings derived from wearing it.
3. They use the jewelry as collateral in trading posts, against which they can borrow in exchange for goods or money. This is what is refered to as Navajo Pawn Jewelry.