All Native American tribes can boast an array of amazing skills. One such skill that Native American people have been practicing for hundreds of years with little interruption is the art of jewelry making. Few other groups on earth have been as consistent in a single art form as Native Americans have. Each tribe has their own signature styles and designs of jewelry, but the Navajo people in particular have some of the most well-known. Navajo turquoise necklaces have literally been in production in some form since before white settlers came to the southwest.
History of Navajo Turquoise Necklaces
Before white exploration in the southwest, Navajo turquoise necklaces consisted mainly of smoothed turquoise beads stitched together. These types of Navajo turquoise necklaces were called Heishi. These were a simple yet beautiful expression of Navajo artistry. These Navajo turquoise necklaces were crafted by smoothing turquoise stones into beads. The Navajo people used rough tools to do this job, and yet produced beautiful Navajo turquoise necklaces.
Later in the 1800s when Spanish explorers introduced silver smithing, Navajo turquoise necklace makers began to incorporate silver into their pieces. This is also around the time that the most famous type of Navajo turquoise necklace came into being; The Squash Blossom Necklace. This type of Navajo turquoise necklace featured a distinct floral pattern to the bead work and would also usually include a Naja pendant in the center of the Navajo turquoise necklace.
To the Navajo people turquoise and Navajo turquoise necklaces were more than just jewelry. The Navajo people believe that turquoise holds special meaning and special powers. The color turquoise is a symbol of good luck and good health. It was also believed that turquoise could calm the wind or help to bring on rain. There may be a good deal of truth to this, because today the Navajo turquoise necklace industry certainly does bring economic stimulation to many Navajo tribes and individual craftsmen.
Navajo turquoise necklaces can be purchased in Native American jewelry shops on reservations. This is an important type of income for many Native Americans. Navajo turquoise necklaces can also be purchased online through websites specializing in Native American jewelry. In the many, many years that Navajo people have been creating their beautiful Navajo turquoise necklaces, not much has changed. The Navajo turquoise necklaces are still a beautiful representation of the artistry of an amazing culture and the Navajo turquoise necklaces are till bringing good luck to the Navajo people.