After the turn of the last century, the growth of tourism in the American Southwest brought enormous changes to the still young tradition of Indian jewelry making. Traders saw Native jewelry’s great potential as souvenirs because the designs were distinctive, turquoise already was associated with the Southwest, and jewelry was easy for the traveler to pack and carry.The jewelry made for Native use, however, was too heavy and expensive for the average souvenir seeker. At first, traders bought lighter, smaller items from their local smiths for wholesale to tourist shops along the rail routes. Enterprising Native silversmiths also sold their less expensive jewelry directly to tourists at their closest railway stations.
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