Fatoya Yazzie, Navajo
Paula says - "This vintage squash blossom necklace is made from heavier sterling silver stock than most contemporary necklaces of this type. Beautiful orange spiny oyster, excellent workmanship and exceptional condition. A real treasure!"
Naja 3 1/2" x 2 1/2".
Earrings 1 1/2" long including wires
7.5 mm bench beads strung on fox tail.
25 inches end to end; 7.5 mm bench beads strung on fox tail.
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?
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 is Spiny Oyster?
Spiny oyster, not surprisingly, is an oyster that is covered with spines. Like coral or mother-of-pearl, the shell of spiny oyster is considered an organic gemstone. The portion of the shell used to make jewelry is aragonite, which consists of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Aragonite has the same chemical formula as calcite. Spiny oysters are found along the Atlantic coast of Baja California and Baja Mexico. Common colors vary from orange, found in shallow waters, to red and purple from deeper waters. The shell is also found in white, yellow, pink and brown. Polished shell has definite striations and color variation. Red spiny oyster has been used as a subsititute for coral.
What is Foxtail?
Foxtail chain is a fine, strong chain made with two rows of oval links arranged at 45° to one another and connected by small flat links running down the chain’s centre. This creates a braided or woven effect with a directional grain and a fullness which gives the appearance of the hairs on a fox’s tail. Foxtail withstands the constant friction of beads moving around without fraying, breaking or stretching out of shape and is often used for stringing large or heavy beads that could cut or damage cord or string.
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
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|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.|
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