By the 1890s, turquoise settings had become nearly ubiquitous in both Navajo and Zuni jewelry. Their work was very similar, and in many cases, it is impossible to identify an item’s tribe of origin. Over the next two decades, however, the two groups evolved different approaches to design with silver and turquoise. The Navajo smiths tended to emphasize the silver, valuing its weight, sheen, and ornamentation. They saw turquoise primarily as another method of ornamenting the silver.
The Zuni smiths became increasingly interested in designing for the stones. They tended to use more stones than the Navajo and arranged them in a larger variety of patterns. The silver was not used as the primary design elements, but merely as the vehicle for the turquoise.
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