12 mm hand made beads strung on foxtail with hand made hook and loop.
Paula says - "This vintage necklace has hand made beads and squash blossoms and it is much heavier than most similar necklaces being made today. A rare find!"
Cast naja 2 1/2" x 2 1/2".
26 1/2 inches end to end.
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 does Tufa Cast or Sand Cast or mean?
Native American cast items are handmade items using one of several processes and materials.
Sand casting was developed by the Egyptians and introduced to the Dine (Navajo) in the 1880s. This method uses sand with a high clay content to form a mold from a template, an existing piece of jewelry or sculpture. Two halves of a box are filled with sand and the original piece is placed between them so the sand packs around the template to form an impression of the original piece.The boxes are carefully separated and the original piece is removed leaving behind an impression of the piece. A sprue (hole into which the molten metal is poured) and air vents are formed from the impression cavity to the edges of the mold and the two boxes are then bound together. Molten metal is poured into the sprue to fill the mold and allowed to cool. The box is separated and the newly cast piece is removed and finished by grindng, filing and polishing.
Tufa casting is used by many Navajo casters today to make an original piece of jewelry or sculpture. Using Tuff Stone, a porous rock from volcanic ash, Tufa Stone, a porous limestone that forms near hot springs, or Sandstone, a harder stone, the artist carves out an original design of an item to be cast, taking care to make the edges angle outward so the metal doesnt stick into corners when the halves are later separated. A sprue is carved from one edge of the cavity to the edge of the form. Another flat stone is placed against the carved half of the mold. The halves are fastened together and molten metal is poured into the mold through the sprue. Once the metal cools, the form is separated and the casting is taken out and finished.
Depending on the preparation of the form and the porous nature of the stone, cast items might have characteristic small pits. That is the nature of sand and tufa casting and Indian Hand Made.
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.
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.|