For Zuni ring context, please reference the "Pins" section of this exhibtion.
The multiple rings that are decendent of Navajo jewelry making are predominantly silver. Starting in the late nineteenth century, Navajo silversmiths began to create new and more durable pieces of jewelry by melting down silver coins and molding them into rings and other various pieces. Inspired by Spanish conquistadors during European colonialism, Navajo smithers quickly learned the skillful process in creating silver goods. These goods (pins, rings, necklaces, bracelets, hair pins, etc.) were highly desirable, infiltrating their way into neighboring cultures and being sold through various Southwestern markets. As popularity grew, the Navajo began to sell their silver goods to people outside of various Native American communities for profit.
Typically, most metal work incorporates some piece of turquoise into the work in order to reference the legend of the Skystone, the legend of the creation of turquoise. Beyond that, the color creates beautiful detail and dramatic contrasts with the reflectiveness of the welded silver.
Indians.org. "Find out how the craft of making Native American rings has evolved" in Native American Rings. Web. http://indians.org/articles/native-american-rings.html.
Durango Silver Company. "Navajo Silversmith History" in Durango Silver Company. Web. https://www.durangosilver.com/navajosilversmithhist.htm.