I’ve been reading and talking with people who can help me learn more about native American jewelry, particularly squash blossom necklaces.
I wrote about it here back in February, and since then, I’ve explored this and learned some interesting things.
First, the squash blossom is not an indigenous part of Navajo and Zuni society. While jewelry making has been a part of north American Indian culture since ancient times, silverworking came to the American west by way of native Mexican craftsmen and traders.
The themes in Navajo silver have also been influenced by those they’ve had contact with, particularly the Spanish. The squash blossom itself is actually a pomegranate blossom, a theme the Spanish adopted from the Moors of North Africa. The inverted crescent piece at the bottom, called a naja, also came from Spaniards by way of the Moors.
I’ve finally ventured into purchasing a few pieces for the shop. These are Navajo necklaces, probably from the 1940’s.
The first one is very detailed, mixing turquoise and coral. It is a smaller piece, and may have been made for a child. That makes it bit shorter and smaller than many pieces. It is stamped C Haley-there is a prominent Navajo family of jewelers named Haley, so I assume this was made by one of them.
Turquoise, coral and silver squash blossom necklace
Wonderful Squash blossom detail
Here is the naja, with a twisted rope detail common in Navajo silver
Fine detail up close
The second piece is larger, bolder and equally lovely.
Navajo squash blossom necklace
With large pieces of turquoise
and bench-made silver beads
This piece also has the twisted rope and the leaf detail common in Navajo silver
I am a vintage clothing shop owner living and working in rural north Florida. I believe in adding a little vinegar and molasses to my greens, having my coffee outside whenever possible, and mixing something vintage into every room and every outfit.