squash blossom necklace (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My goodness what a day for my last day here in Alamogordo. I'll write about our program events in another post.
But in between filming interviews and giving out the cheques in a ceremony we had 45 minutes to spare…
There is a wonderful antique mall here. You may have seen the fabulous quilt I bought there a few weeks ago.
As we walked in I noticed a gorgeous piece of Native American Jewelery in a display case.
I didn't know what it was but I dismissed it while we walked looking for old fabric. It's just a treasure trove in there.
I picked up a quilt top for $5.
OK, it's not finished but I just love to have them… its made of feed-sacks, hand sewn and new, with very little damage.
THEN, I went back to the cabinet…. I casually asked the assistant to get the necklace out of the cabinet.
It weighs a ton.
I beat her down a little and wore it out the door.
I now find its a Squash Blossom necklace.
I walked into the bank and a customer said…"Oh my goodness you have a shqash blossom necklace"
So a little research found that I actually DO have one at about 1/20th the price of the advertised pieces on the web.
Historically, the classic squash blossom necklace features a crescent shaped pendant, called a "naja" (nah-hah ), the Navajo word for "crescent".
The crescent is a Moorish symbol that was imbued into Spanish culture during the Moorish conquests and the occupation Spain. The crescent design was common to many of the earliest civilizations prior. In the late 1500s and early 1600s, the saddles and bridles of huge, muscled horses of the Spanish Conquistadors were fitted with sterling, crescent-shaped pendants of Moorish origin. For the next 200 years, as the two cultures cycled through various phases of peace and strife in the struggle for power, the Navajo adapted and incorporated these and other traditional Spanish ornamentation into their jewelry.
Early on, Navajos’ wore the crescent-shaped naja on a rawhide necklace as an ornament of beauty and these pieces also came to symbolize wealth. If one person had such an ornament, others wanted one —if possible, something even better. In this way, an incredibly array of variations on the the naja evolved. Eventually, najahe or naja, became associated with crop fertility and were worn during ceremonies related to the agricultural cycles. It was customary for Medicine men to wear squash blossom pieces as well.
Lisa bought a beautiful quilt as well…. $10 it has been a tied quilt. the back has been removed and the raw cotton is still evident. Machine pieced, this is probably shirting fabric.
4 Comments Add yours
your treasures are amazing…peg in ks
The necklace is beautiful. I’ve always loved wearing turquoise and silver against red.
I love Turquoise too… bu I normally wear gold… still, I love this piece.
Oh, Pam, you have scored yourself a beautiful piece of our Native American culture. I have always wanted a squash blossom necklace, but couldn’t afford one. When I lived in California, my elderly neighbor had one and I so envied it. I pray it brings you peace and good fortune! It looks so fantastic with orange, too!