Navajo silversmiths as we have previously seen frequently created silver flatware for sale to visiting tourists. One of the more unusual forms produced was the salad set. At first the indian silversmith would use American or Mexican silver coins which were melted into ingot form and then hand pounded in a "folk art" tradition. They were then decorated with stamped designs as were the smaller spoons. As the silversmiths became wealthier and more sophisticated they started to use commercially purchased rolled silver and decorated the salad sets with turquoise and engraving. The quality of the workmanship also increased, but at the expense of the folk art tradition. Collectors like all of the styles, but at the current time the older sets command a significant price premium despite the fact that they are not as sophisticated as the newer pieces.
Unmarked hand beaten and stamped Navajo salad set measuring (approx. 8.25" 210mm)
Detail of the spoon finial and bowl
Modern Navajo salad set made from conventional rolled silver. Note the higher quality of the stamped designs and the nice use of turquoise. Hand made and unmarked.