Jewelry Collector’s Guide: The Squash Blossom
At the Indian Pueblo Store, we endeavor to connect you to bold and beautiful art and artists of the Southwest, and also to share information and insights which provide the meaning behind the art. Through our collector’s guide, we hope that you will gain new knowledge and a greater appreciation of these works, including our authentic Native American jewelry, such as the squash blossom.
An Iconic Native American Jewelry Piece
The squash blossom necklace is a bold statement piece that represents a storied legacy of jewelry-making by Native Americans of the Southwest.
Origins and Meaning
The central inverted crescent, called a naja, was an ornament that the Spanish used on horse bridles which may have its origins in Moorish designs. Fluted blossoms were another silver ornament used by Spanish and Mexican people to embellish their clothing. Possibly derived from European pomegranate flowers, this decorative shape was called a squash blossom by Navajo silversmiths. Silver beads were introduced to North Americans by Europeans, and by the 19th century these beads had long been prized by the Navajo and other Southwestern Native cultures.
When Navajo artisans first learned the craft of silversmithing in the 1850s, these beads became a staple of Navajo jewelry. The first squash blossom necklace was created around 1880, blending the three elements of the naja, fluted blossom and silver beading to create the design into a distinctive and enduring form. Today, the squash blossom necklace is an icon of Native American and Southwestern jewelry and one of the most recognized types of jewelry in the world.
Though it is an emblem of Southwestern style, it has been embraced by American fashion designers, making its way into high fashion. From the red carpet to the streets of Santa Fe, the Squash Blossom has become one of the most valuable and collected forms of Southwestern Native American art. Squash blossom necklaces are timeless heirlooms that will be enjoyed for generations. You can view and shop our online collection to see the many variations of this beautiful authentic Native American jewelry that we have available for purchase.