Lot 90A: Early Navajo Silver Squash Blossom Necklace & Hair Pins
October 27, 2016
Louisville, CO, USALive Auction
Native American, Southwest, Navajo, ca. late 19th to early 20th century CE. A stunning ensemble including a silver and turquoise squash blossom necklace and four silver crescent shaped hairpins set with oval turquoise cabochon stones. The necklace is comprised of ten silver squash blossom beads set with beautiful natural turquoise stones strung on a strand of many round silver beads, with a grand inverted crescent shaped pendant, called the "Naja" by the Navajo, set with six more turquoise stones in silver settings, the largest hanging from a loop in the center. The Navajo word for the squash blossom bead literally means "bead that spreads out"and this tri-petal form first appeared about 1880. Initially the neckaces were rather simple with the tri-petal silver beads interspersed with rather plain beads. In time, stones were added to the blossom beads. According to the Navajo, the Naja is strictly decorative; however, it has always been held in high regard by the Navajo and other peoples. What's more we do know of a squash blossom petroglyph at Saguaro National Monument in Arizona and scholars believe that the flower motif was introduced by the Spanish as a variation of the pomegranate flower blossom. The four hairpins make for a wonderful complement. Two show a crescent form and two feature featured plume motifs upon that crescent form. All are set with beautiful oval turquoise cabochons and the silver is detailed with marvelous geometric and feather-like motifs. A special ensemble of wearable art created by the Navajo. Size: necklace measures 24" L (61 cm); 27.5" L (69.8 cm) with pendant; Naja pendant measures 3.5" L x 3" W (8.9 cm x 7.6 cm); hairpins measure 3.375" L (8.6 cm)
Provenance: Ex-private Santa Monica collection
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Condition Report: Intact and excellent. A bit of expected tarnish. Near choice.