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Posted by / 02-Mar-2018 09:55

Prior to the mid- to late nineteenth century, Hopi Indian's geographical remoteness precluded sustained local trade with Anglo traders.The earliest Hopi Indian metal ornaments were usually items salvaged from discarded brass bullet cartridges and copper wire.After 1900, they began to create jewelry for commercial consumption as well.The availability of turquoise and silver, together with better silver working tools, enabled craftsmen to supply the growing market among Indian traders and tourists who were arriving in droves by railroad to visit the Southwest.Before their first contacts with Europeans, Hopi Indians fashioned jewelry from bone, seeds, shell, and local stones (including turquoise, according to ancestral ways.Metalsmithing techniques, including silversmithing, came to Hopi Indian somewhat later than to other Southwest tribes.For instance, Navajo Indian silversmiths, working from 1870 to 1900, learned the stamping of Indian ornaments from Mexican leather workers, rather than from the silversmiths who had taught them. Hubbell hired several Mexican silversmiths to teachthe craft to Navajos at his trading post in Ganado, Arizona.

One of the Navajo artisans' greatest innovations was in their inventive use of die stamping for decorative effect, with many smiths devising their own handmade stamps, which were often passed down through the generations.Like other Pueblo peoples, Zuni Indian artisans possess a true talent for lapidary work.In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, many Zuni Indian craftspeople learned silversmithing as well.Atsidi Sani's younger brother, Slender Maker of silver (active 1880s to 1890s, d.1916), has been credited with numerous innovations in silver and stonework design during the 1880s and 1890s.

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Navajo smiths often made silver settings, known as "blanks," that were then set with stones by Zuni (or Pueblo) lapidarists.

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