With these refined tools, it was now possible to create more elaborate silver articles, including powder-chargers, earrings, round beads, tobacco flasks, belts, and bridle ornaments. In the 1920s, when sheet silver replaced silver slugs and coins, artisans no longer needed to melt and pound their raw material flat.
The ease of hammering or bending thin sheets into jewelry allowed silver artisans to create an array of new designs.
So do “najas,” crescent-shaped pendants that evoke Moorish Spain.
Many Navajo necklaces combine these two beloved motifs, hanging najas from squash blossom necklaces.
Come spring, hard-pressed farmers might swap their silver-ornamented belts for seed money, expecting to buy them back at summer harvest.