Robert Vandover, Navajo
Paula says - "We call a necklace like this "squash blossom style" because it is constructed like a squash blossom necklace as far as the silver beads and length but is made without squash blossoms. Instead, this necklace has stylized chip inlay peyote birds.
"The back of the naja is inscribed with a social security number that is attributed to the former owner who passed away in 1981, so we are assuming this necklace was made in the 1970s."
Naja is 3" x 2 5/8".
Stylized chip inlay peyote birds replace traditional squash blossoms.
12 birds are approx 1 3/4" long and made of very substantial sterling silver.
26 inches end to end strung on chain.
Peyote Bird, Water Bird or Thunderbird?
Water Bird / Peyote Bird
A symbol of the renewal of life, rainy seasons, rivers, distant travel, distant vision & wisdom. It is often also referred to as the Peyote Bird because the Water Bird plays a significant part in the Native American Indian Church Peyote meetings and, in fact, since the early 1900's has been the symbol of the NAC.
Peyote/Water Bird is not a Southwest tradition, but one of the Plains Indians. The Peyote Bird is connected with lightning, thunder and visions. Those who dream of the thunder beings will become Heyokas, those who do things backwards, upside down, or opposite. This is a Lakota way of being. It is part of the medicine of the Heyoka to remind us that we should not take ourselves too seriously - that's why Heyoka is often translated as the "sacred clown".
A cross-cultural symbol of the Southwest, Plains and Pacific Northwest tribes as well as in the non-Native world. Much is written about the origin of the symbol and its significance. It has been suggested by some that the symbol was borrowed by Native American artisans from medal dies from the white man. Others claim the Thunderbird has always lived in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. There, carved totem poles are often topped with a Thunderbird with outstretched wings. Looking at a Thunderbird, it is easy to see why it symbolizes power, strength and nobility.
Squash Blossom Symbolism
Corn, squash and beans are the traditional mainstays of the southwestern diet, culture and symbolism and are used in many ways in art and ceremony. The squash blossom represents abundant life.
What is a squash blossom necklace?
"Some say the Navajo squash blossom necklace has a connection to southwestern agriculture, other say the the spread petal design is just that, a design, and that is was only after white man asked, “what is this, what does it mean” did the name squash blossom come to be. Yet others say the Navajo copied a similar Spanish design of the pomegranate – look at the end of a pomegranate sometime and compare it to the “squash blossom” bead.
"The Navajo word for the “squash blossom” bead means “bead that spreads out” so it would seem to me that the original intent was design, not squash. But what do I know, I wasn’t around in 1880 when spread beads first appeared.
"Whichever is the true account, it seems that originally Navajo silversmiths used simple silver bead necklaces to suspend their naja pendants. In about 1880, the tri-petal form that we know as a squash blossom bead appeared.
"At first, tri-petal silver beads were simply interspersed with plain beads in a naja necklace. Then stones began to be added to the blossom beads partly to please the maker but mostly to satisfy customer demand.
"While usually associated with Navajo silversmiths, squash blossom necklaces are also made and worn by Pueblo and Zuni people. Zuni necklaces usually feature needlepoint designs. Although there can be any number of squash blossoms on each side of a necklace, there are often six on each side, making twelve squash blossoms and one central naja.
"Full size squash blossom necklaces are often quite large and heavy and most suitable for occasional ceremonial wear. Smaller, lighter versions are made to be worn as everyday jewelry." - Paula
What is a Naja?
The horseshoe shaped naja originated with the Moors in Spain. It is a good luck charm to ward off the evil eye. It was often used on the browband of Moorish Horses. It is thought that it came to Mexico via the Spanish Moors and from there was adopted by the Navajo Indians. The naja is the base pendant of many ornate squash blossom necklaces: read more . . .
What are Bench Beads?
Bench beads are partially manufactured and partially hand made. Usually the halves are machine cut and the silversmith solders the two halves together. Sometimes bench beads are left with a protruding seam but in other cases the seam is sanded down and polished smooth. Then the beads are strung by hand.
NOTE: Items in our Vintage Shop are either USED or NEW. They might come from inheritances, estate sales, private collections, and store liquidations. Many items are brand new (NOS, New Old Stock) and in perfect condition while others may show tarnish, scratches and other signs of use. Major issues will be described in detail and shown in photos. Vintage Shop items are sold as described and are not returnable.
Horsekeeping LLC - Definitions of Jewelry Age and Condition
© 2015 Horsekeeping LLC © Copyright Information
|A dark or colored film of oxidation that forms naturally on metal exposure to air and other elements. It is often valued for its aesthetically pleasing appearance.|
|30 years or older.|
|New Old Stock. Retail store inventory from at least 10 years ago.|
|An item that has been used.|
© 2019 Horsekeeping LLC © Copyright Information