Squash blossom necklace (written by Pagosa Funky Trunk LLC-all rights reserved)

It has been said that a person wearing a squash blossom necklace has to dress around it. Most
often crafted in silver and turquoise, this bright and bold necklace is worn not only by Native
Americans but by Americans and people all over the world.
Navajos are thought to be the author of the squash blossom bead, and designer of the necklace
with the same name, although some claim the Plains Indians were its originator. Neighboring tribes,
including the Zuni and Pueblo, latched onto the design idea and added their own flare to the famous
squash blossom necklace. Design-crossover from one tribe to the next seems to be a common thread in
Native American jewelry probably due to their intereactions and trading which sometimes involved
looting and slavery. (from Skystone and Silver)
The necklace's two major design components – the naja pendant and beads that look like
flowers beginning to bloom – combine elements from the Moors, Spanish and Muslims in North Africa
and Arabia, and later, from the Indian tribes who adoped them and made them their own. Dr. Bertha
Dutton, a renouned anthropologist, says “a first source” for the squash blossom necklace “as well as
other aboriginal design motifs” is hard to solidify “because they occur again and again all over the
world. As with such ideas,” she continues, “they originate with the enviornment: the earth, sun, moon,
stars, clouds, lightning.”
Historical references for the naja's beginnings suggest that the 3⁄4-circle, or crescent-shaped
pendant that hangs from the center of the necklace, probably came from the Spanish on their first
journeys to the Southwest as they adorned their horses' “trappings.” Mexican settlers' horses
apparently wore the symbol on their bridles' headstalls.
The design for the squash blossom necklace's “flowering” beads runnin up each side of the naja,
actually represnet pomegranites, not native to America. So, at some point, the squash blossom replaced
the pomegranite in its flower designation. These squash blossom beads with their bloom expentions

are often made of silver. Some say their resemblence to “outreaching hands” indicates an Oriental
influence and represent “friendship.” Najas are mostly made of silver too, and often set with turqouise
or other stones. They vary in size and shape. Strung inbetween the squash blossom beads, are plain
(often silver) beads. Earlier-period silver beads for squash blossom necklaces and other pieces of
jewelry were wrought from coins, popular in the 1920s through the 1950s.
Squash blossom necklaces began as very simple pieces of jewelry. Since their elemental
beginnings, through the years, for some, they have become statur symbols, made with the most
expensive silver and stones. Because of their popularity through the ages, most people recognize and
know the name squash blossom, and associate it with the Native American Indian. Other than having
the naja pendant and blossom beads in common, necklaces vary widely in appearance from heavy and
gaudy to dainty and exquisite – and everything inbetween. A museum curator quoted in Skystone and
Silver tells of one purchased in a gallery, containing “over 1,000 karats of Lander turquoise (an
extremely fine stone), which she says was “the ugliest squash blossom necklace I've ever seen.”
Some movie stars pictured in photos with them on are: Cher of the 1970s Sonny and Cher TV
show; Beyonce, one of Destiny Child's 1990's band members; also Drew Barrymore, who played in the
2000 movie, Charlie's Angels. Jason Momoa, from Game of Thrones, is in a picture wearing a squash
blossom necklace.

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