The Stamp and Coin Place Blog: connecting the past and present of stamp and coin collecting, and looking to the future.

The Story of the Squash Blossom Necklace

The squash blossom flower, after which the traditional Navajo necklace got its name. (via benketaro on Flickr)

The subject of jewelry is often considered in the light of fashion and fads. But some jewelry stands the test of time, regardless of the latest fashion trends.

An excellent example is the Navajo squash blossom necklace which, since its birth circa 1880, still remains an elegant, stunning piece.

Navajo_Squash_Blossom_Necklace

As it is easy to see, the squash blossom necklace, with its squash blossom beads as well as the naja crescent moon centerpiece, is remarkably unique.

The flower pendant is actually a representation of the Spanish-Mexican pomegranate, but is commonly referred to for its resemblance to a squash blossom flower.

When the necklace came into existence, the Navajo people at the time had been under the influence of Spanish Conquistadors for hundreds of years. It is speculated that the Navajo were in contact with the crescent moon piece as it was a symbol placed on Spanish horse bridles and as a symbol of conquest.

(via Maegan Tintari on Flickr)

(via Maegan Tintari on Flickr)

For the Navajo, the symbol soon came to represent agriculture and was first used as a pendant on a simple cord. When silversmithing grew to become more prevalent, the squash blossom beads came to be. The Navajo called the squash blossom bead “yo ne maze disya gi”, which means “the beads that spread out.” The beads are ceremonial garments used for rituals involving the agricultural cycle.

Squash-blossom-necklaceBut what quality makes us still marvel at the squash blossom to this day?

While the necklace originated as a symbolic, ceremonial garment, today we recognize it for its outstanding aesthetic appeal.

Most squash blossom necklaces that can be found today were made during the 20th century but retain the same sense of beauty that the original pieces had. In their design, turquoise and coral are most commonly inset with the silver beads and the naja pendant.

What it represents is open to interpretation, ready to captivate the imagination. Like the other treasures we keep close to our heart, it offers a feeling of marvel.

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