Southwest Indian Jewelry: Silverware - Flatware
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Southwestern Indians have been using shell and stone to make jewelry since prehistoric times. After the arrival of the Spanish, they added silver to the materials they used. Fine examples of older jewelry are available at the gallery, including necklaces made of shell and stone from Kewa (Santo Domingo Pueblo), Zuni turquoise cluster work and Navajo silver cuffs and earrings. Most of the jewelry dates from the time just after the Second World War.
Beginning as early as 1880, Native American silversmiths melted down silver coins to create unique and authentic, hand-crafted Native American silverware to sell to passengers on the Santa Fe Railroad. By the middle of the 20th Century, artists were using sheet silver to create stunning souvenir reminders for the automobile travelers along Route 66. Sterling silver flatware and souvenir spoons were especially popular among the items purchased by adventurous travelers along Route 66. Iced tea spoons were mementos that could be purchased as souvenirs and later used by the owners when they returned home from their Southwest adventure, an everyday reminder of their travels.