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“Zuni Silver”

Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

Zuni Girl (pin)“Zuni Girl (pin),” Unidentified Zuni (Artist)

The introduction of silver and silversmithing among the Indians in the Southwest dates from the middle of the 1800s. Mexican traders first introduced the Navajo to silver. Like pottery, migrations and trade among peoples spread jewelry-making designs and materials over hundreds of years. Before the introduction of silver, the Zunis pounded out jewelry from copper and brass wire. They also melted down yellow metal from old pots and pans furnished by early traders. The first Zuni to learn silversmithing was a man named Lanyade. Lanyade was about ninety-five years old when he told his story to John Adair in the 1930s.