Introduced by the Spaniards & Mexicans around the middle of the 19th Century, Navajo silversmiths obtained metal by melting down American silver dollars or Mexican pesos.
It’s believed that Navajos began working with turquoise after returning from Fort Sumner, New Mexico in 1868. Aside from its ornamental value, turquoise is especially important to the Navajo people because of the ceremonial significance.
Because of the beauty of Navajo jewelry, other countries make copies and pass it off as Navajo. Don’t assume anything. Always ask if the silver is sterling, if the turquoise is genuine, and if it is a Navajo made. Federal Law regulates statements of authenticity.
Sandpainting – an other unique and symbolic art form originating with the Holy People, was and still is primarily ceremonial purposes. Sandpaintings represent an array of ceremonies and sacred songs. These ceremonies are held for Navajo individuals and their family members only.
The art of sandpainting in the present day has been transformed into art on board by using sand to design pictures for public consumption. If Navajo deities are used, specific elements of the deities are eliminated before they are sold to the public.