By 1900, Navajo and Pueblo silversmiths were making all of the jewelry forms now considered Southwestern classics. Because silver was not an indigenous craft, however, the origin of these forms reveals a remarkable mixing of cultures filtered through Native vision and inventiveness.The concho belt is a perfect example. From the Spanish concha or shell, the domed silver conchos may have been derived from Spanish buckles or from the German- silver “hair plates” that Anglos traded to the Plains Indians. Certainly the idea of stringing the conchos on a strip of leather came from the hair plates (although Plains Indians wore them hanging from the back of the head rather than around the waist), but their decoration closely followed that found on fancy iron lock escutcheons made by Spanish blacksmiths.
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