Vintage Silver Squash Blossom Necklace
Sterling Silver and Kingman Turquoise Squash Blossom Necklace. This necklace features twelve medium sterling silver squash blossoms, silver stamped handmade beads, and a silver naja with a bezel set Kingman Turquoise cabochon in the center. The naja measures 3 1/2 inches x 3 1/4 inches and is 30 inches.
History of the Squash Blossom Necklace
“Squash blossom” is a term long been applied to a unique necklace produced by Southwestern Native American Tribes. It was first made by the Navajo and later by the Zuni and Hopi. The term squash blossom was attached at an early date to the unusual bead, which has a flowering end. The Navajo word “Chil Bitan” means flower-like bead, or more literally translated, “bead which spreads out.”
However, the flower is not believed to be a squash blossom, and really does not resemble one. It is like a young pomegranate. The pomegranate was a symbol of Granada, Spain, and Spanish and Mexican dandies wore a small silver version of this symbol to decorate their blouses, capes, and trousers. They had already borrowed the Spanish crescent moon and star symbol which was worn on the horse’s bridle and on the center of the animal’s forehead. Navajo craftsmen simplified this theme which often is to a plain crescent; in fact, the Navajo word for this ornament is “nazhahi” – now commonly spelled Naja, which means crescent. The Naja was first worn with plain silver beads, but later became a part of the distinctive squash blossom necklace.