The Squash Blossom Necklace (5 of 7)

Many admirers of turquoise jewelry point to the squash blossom as one of the finest designs available. Today I’ll continue my discussion of the squash blossom…

The principal part of the traditional squash blossom necklace is the naja. It is believed that the Native Americans first saw this ornamental design on the horse bridles of the Spanish Conquistadors in the late 1500s and early 1600s. Captured or traded, these ornaments soon graced the necks of the local Native Americans. Their acquisition was a matter of pride, and as the generations came and went, the najahe or naja became symbolic and was associated through ceremony with crop fertility. The Navajo word for the squash blossom bead is yo ne maze disya gi, which means simply -bead that spreads out-. The squash blossom necklace serves as a reminder of the close interaction between the Pueblo and Navajo Indians since the mid 1800s.

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