Sterling Silver Jewelry
Most people think of a silver chain necklace or silver chain bracelet when thinking of sterling silver jewelry. It was in the early 1800s that the Spanish settlers first taught Native American Indians silversmithing. Indians now consider silversmithing a traditional occupation and continue the art of jewelry making today. A bracelet of turquoise and silver is often made by the Navajo Indian artists. Other stones such as lapis, opal, mother of pearl, and coral were also used in jewelry art making. Later sterling silver jewelry replaced German silver which really wasn't silver at all, but a nickel alloy.
The stone most recognized as Native American Indian jewelry is the turquoise stone. Evidence of prehistoric mining is evident around abandoned Indian sites, showing that Turquoise was the favored stone of the Indian tribes. New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado are all well known for their turquoise and sterling silver jewelry made by Indians. Different Indian tribes use variations of jewelry designs. Xuni are known for their fine channel and inlay work while Navajo are best known as the greatest silversmiths. Overlay is often used by the Hopi Indians and Santa Domingo Indians use shell overlays.