26" Silver Navajo Handmade Squash Blossom Necklace 4F04A


$ 892.50 $ 1,050.00


1 in stock

Material: Sterling Silver

Dimensions: 26" long. Main bolo pendant is 2" x 2-1/4".

Weight (in grams): 95.1

Hallmark/Signature: N/A

This piece is a stunning example of the artistry of the Navajo silversmith. Each piece is handmade out of sterling silver.
The squash blossom necklace is a classic Navajo necklace. The necklace's design is a symbol of acculturation. Its design originates from early Spanish and Moorsish symbolism and with these cultural influences the squash blossom necklace emerged as a symbol that is uniquely Navajo. The necklace's design can be dissected into two parts: the squash-blossoms and the Naja.

The Squash Blossoms

The necklace is typically a strand of beads, sometimes two. Interwoven with these silver beads are squash blossoms: silver bead with an attached silver flower-like blossom. In the language of the Navajo, they are called "yo ne maze disya gi," which is translated into "the beads that spreads out." In the squash blossom necklace usually there are five to seven of these on each side.

In many contemporary designs the concept is used; however, sometimes the actual squash blossom is only in concept. The term "squash blossom" nonetheless refers to the likeness of the bead to an actual squashes blossom. This name denotes Navajo ideology. However, the designs likeness can be attributed to the pomegranate's blossom of the Eastern world. Through the Spanish, the Navajo silversmiths were acculturated by these subtle influences.

The Naja

The center piece is called the Naja. Naja (názhah) in the Navajo language means "crescent shape" or "curve." The naja design is derived from moorish origins who influenced the Spanish, who decorated their bridles with such ornamentations. These bridle pieces adorned the horses of the Spanish. The Navajo silversmiths were influenced by the design.

In ascribing the origin of the najahe, anthropologist John Adair states: "This emblem was old when Columbus crossed the ocean to the new world. It was wide spread from Africa to Serbia. In short, it was an Old World amulet fastened to horse trappings, preferably the bridle, to ward off the evil eye from the animal. These crescent shaped amulets were made of two boars tusks joined together or fashioned out of brass, iron, silver, gold, or bronze. The Romans had them, so did the Moors. The bridle trappings of the conquistadores no doubt carried these same traditional ornaments." (Adair42).



With these two aspects, the naja and the squash blossom, the necklace as we know it today emerged. From early archived photographs there is an evolution of design.

In the infantile stages of the design, the crescent shaped naja is often placed as a center pendant on a string of plain silver beads. In these early photographs there are no squash blossoms. From the plain row of silver beads the Navajo incorporated other designs into the necklace. The Navajo would incorporate coins to decorate the sides of the beads. Sometimes, crosses would adorn the side of the beads. In addition to coins and crosses, the squash blossom bead emerged into the design, establishing the entire necklace as a Navajo icon, and an American tradition.

During the initial stages of Navajo silversmithing, the use of turquoise was not abundant. Very few pieces were made with turquoise. As turquoise became more assessable and as silversmithing technology improved, the Navajo quickly employed the use of turquoise into the design of the necklace: sometimes with simple one stone designs, others with hundreds of stones into one piece. It is this necklace with the simple one stone for each blossom that became a symbol of the Navajo. This design is what was used on the two-cent postage stamp, released in 2004.

Today

These are many artists in today's world, and there are many artists who still create the traditional squash blossom necklaces. Although the design is incorporated into the repertoire of many noted silversmiths, many artists produce a contemporary version of this design. Today there are many artist that use "non-traditional" materials, such as stones, which includes malachite, lapis, gaspeite, etc. and the uses of other metals, such as gold.

Today, there are also artist that are producing a "classical/contemporary," whose designs lie on the border of yesterday and today.

Conclusion

Throughout the pages of history there lies a common path that connects humanity. Any one symbol, any one word, any one concept, there is a path that connects it to the past; it is this path that man ascends. From culture to culture, nation to nation, person to person, influences are made. The influences are marked, noted and incorporated into society, and these influences emerge as a completely new aspect of culture. It can be seen from rap music, jazz to Native American jewelry. Not only is the squash blossom a symbol of the Navajo; it is a symbol of this path that no man is an island.

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