The Navajo and Pueblo peoples began making silver jewelry some time in the 1860s. The first pieces collected by outsiders were from the old Ft. Wingate area of New Mexico, in the vicinity of Acoma/Laguna, and from Zuni and the Navajo checker board reservation. The first silversmiths were probably Pueblo peoples who learned the craft from Spanish/Mexican blacksmiths or silversmiths. Certainly by the end of the 19th century the craft of working in silver had spread throughout the Pueblos and Navajo reservations.
I specialize in selling native made jewelry from this early period, roughly 1870-1930. The jewelry from this period was made with very simple tools under primitive conditions yet has an extremely sophisticated and powerful look.