Member: National Bit, Spur & Saddle Collector's Association and Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America
Item #J802 / $3,500.
Antique Navajo Turquoise Squash Blossom Necklace
This antique piece of 'Old Pawn' jewelry is a beautiful Navajo turquoise and silver adornment. This traditional necklace is created with large pieces of old turquoise set in intricately worked silver, mounted on a double strand of hollow silver beads. The silver flutes or 'blossoms' are large and feature a 4-petal pattern. The turquoise is quite colorful with veins of orange, yellow and gold throughout. The matching of the stones is a true accomplishment and evidently all were taken from the same source.
This necklace was created by experienced artisan of 17 pieces of turquoise. These are set as follows: 5 stones on each side of the necklace are in squash blossom settings and 7 are set in the crescent or 'naja'. The design of the naja is found on many Navajo creations, including bridles. Due to the number of stones and the amount of silver, it is quite heavy and hangs beautifully. The necklace measures 22 1/2 inches long and the naja is 3 inches wide by 2 3/4 inches high. The piece weighs 5.2 ounces.
Navajo, Hopi and Pueblo Indians learned the art of silver smithing from the Spaniards in the 1800's, as they did many other crafts. Skills such as horsehair braiding, rawhide braiding and saddlemaking were taught by at the missions. The Native Americans took each craft and turned it into an art. The Naja design was adopted from the Spanish designs, which were in turn copied from items brought to Spain by the Moors (in the same way that Longhorn cattle moved from North Africa to finally settle in Texas). This Naja design is found in antique bridles and many other items fashioned by the Navajo and tribes from the Southern United States.
In the tradition of the Southwestern Tribes, coral and turquoise are central to personal adornment for spiritual and physical protection. Coral's attributes include cures and protection from ailments such as blindness or snakebite. Turquoise is the representation of the ties between Earth and sky - symbols of the spirit and the body. The wearing of turquoise is as if wearing a piece of sky that has fallen to Earth.
The original Squash Blossom necklace probably appeared sometime in the 1880's. The word for the "squash blossom" bead in Navajo is "yo ne maze disya gi". It is thought to mean "bead that spreads out." Traditionally, this particular necklace was worn at ceremonies.
Antique Turquoise Squash Blossom Necklace / Item #J802 / Item #J802 / $3,500.
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Members: National Bit, Spur & Saddle Collector's Association
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