The number of Navajos who produce silverwork remains small. Their work is highly regarded and sought after by other Navajos and by others all over the world. In fact, silver jewelry is a status symbol of a man's wealth and reputation.
IN 1884, the owner of Hubbell Trading Post in Ganado, AZ hired two Mexican silversmiths to teach Navajos to solder and work with silver. The result of this early apprenticeships emphasized the heavy use of metal, with few stones and a simplicity of design.
To obtain metal the Navajos melted American silver coins, then beat the molten silver to make the jewelry. However, in 1890 the Currency Defacement act was passed by Congress prohibited the use of American coins in the way.
History of Native American Pueblo and Navajo Jewelry Silversmiths Posted: 2006-07-14