Native American jewelry – A traditional craft still going strong
Although you saw Klee working with contemporary mediums in episode 13 of, he is also a silversmith and leather worker, keeping his Navajo culture alive. When most people think about Native American jewelry, they think about silver and turquoise, although these might be the most common examples you can find in the 21st century, they certainly weren’t the materials used thousands of years ago.

Historically, jewelry was made from bones, stones and shells that were drilled and shaped into beads and pendants. The oldest examples of Native American jewelry are four bone earrings that date back 12,000 years.

Prior to the 19th century, the Navajo acquired silver ornaments through trade with Hispanic settlers; they didn’t actually start working with silver until the 19th century. Credited as the first Navajo silversmith, Atsidi Sani learned the art from a Mexican smith in the 1850s. Atsidi then taught his four sons to become silversmiths, and they, in turn, taught others. The Navajo began creating jewelry for commercial consumption in the 1900s.
Nov 22, 2016
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