It is said that before the Navajo were rounded up and sent to Fort Sumner they wore scrap tin and other metal strung on leather. Today Navajo necklaces can vary as much as the artisans that make them. Most of the Navajo Necklaces are made with sterling silver and contain inlaid turquoise, malachite, pink shell, genuine red coral or black jet. However, Navajo artisans still create beautifully designed Beaded Necklaces. The most popular necklace beads are from turquoise. Many of the necklaces are also made from all types of stones or shells; turquoise, gaspeite, variscite, coral, multi colored oyster shell and others as well. Sterling Silver Pendants are also very popular with Navajo jewelry collectors and often come inlaid with many of the same stones and shells listed earlier.
Navajo Squash Blossom Necklaces
Probably the most well known Navajo necklace is the Squash Blossom Necklace. There is no known source for where the term "squash blossom" comes from in reference to this beautifully handcrafted Navajo Necklace and did not come into existence until after 1880. Navajo silversmiths adopted the crescent-shaped "naja" of the Mexicans into their own artwork. It is said that possibly the "Squash Blossom" name was given to this Navajo Necklace when a white man asked what the beads were or represented and was informed it was like a squash blossom. However, some think the necklaces beads were not originally intended to be that of a squash blossom.
Squash Blossom necklaces have correlation to crop-fertility. Being worn in Navajo agricultural ceremonies that has something to do with the planting cycle. Even though the history of the Navajo Squash Blossom necklace isn't completely clear the beauty and artistry of silver and turquoise is second to none.