Squash blossom necklace (written by Lantern Dancer Gallery 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Historical references for the naja's beginnings suggest that the 3⁄4-circle, or crescent-shaped pendant that hangs from the center of the necklace, probably came from the Spanish on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 running up each side of the naja, actually represents pomegranates, 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 expansions are often made of silver. Some say their resemblance to “outreaching hands” indicates an Oriental influence and represent “friendship.” Najas are mostly made of silver too, and often set with turquoise 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 in between. 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.