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Turquoise and silver necklace


#1

I wonder if anyone can help me. I live in the south of Portugal and
a friend, an English lady of 91, has a turquoise and silver necklace
that she had from a friend in Arizona some 20 or so years ago. She
would like to sell it. The necklace is quite chunky with a double
string of silver beads with ten mounted turquoises and a horseshoe of
7 more at the front. It has been fabricated but there is no maker’s
mark. Does anyone know of specialists in this sort of jewellery who
could value it or might be interested in buying it? Thankyou, Margaret
Jackson


#2

The necklace you describe is most likely a squash blossom, the horse
shoe you mention is called a naja. Hope this helps. Check to see if
it is strung on a fox tail chain or on a plastic covered wire. This
will give you an idea of the age of the necklace. Lloyd.


#3
the necklace is quite chunky with a double string of silver beads
with ten mounted turquoises and a horseshoe of 7 more at the front. 

Hi Margaret,

There could be quite a range in prices for the necklace, depending
on several factors:

  1. The selling venue - it might not get very much at a place like
    eBay, but a sale at a better estate jewelry boutique could increase
    the selling price several times.

  2. The quality of the turquoise (is it natural or treated, where is
    the turquoise from, etc.) and the craftsmanship in the silver work.
    Also, the silver beads could be handmade bench beads or manufactured
    beads, with the former being more desirable/valuable.

  3. The age of the piece. Older native American jewelry (before
    commercialism from the 60’s on) is highly desirable among
    collectors. Even though your friend received it twenty-odd years ago,
    was it new or “vintage” when she received it?

A good appraisal by a knowledgeable party would be justified.
Unfortunately, I can’t offer any recommendations for such an
appraisal… especially in Europe.

As a side note, the horseshoe shaped pendant is a Naja (or Nazcha),
which is the Navajo word for “crescent.” Native Americans first saw
this design element on the headstalls or bridles of Spaniard horses
and adapted it as a jewelry component. The Spaniards most likely
borrowed it from the Moors, who used it as a talisman for warding off
the “evil eye.” The Naja is frequently found as the pendant in the
classic southwestern Squash Blossom necklace.

All the best,

Dave

Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)
dave@sebaste.com


#4

The necklace you are describing is called a squash blossom necklace.
The price depends on the quality of work, as well as the quality of
turquoise. Were all the beads handmade and not mass produced bench
beads? Are the other components fabricated from wire or cast? Is the
turquoise stabilized or a nice natural Bisbee spiderweb? In the 70’s,
I sold in this size from several hundred dollars to $2000-$5000 USD.
The several hundred dollar version had stabilized Kingman turquoise,
mass produced beads, cast components, etc. I suggest you contact
either Indian Jewelers Supply (Phil Woodward has been a collector for
many years) or Thundbird Jewelry Supply, both out of Gallup, NM, USA.


#5

Indian Jeweler’s Supply is heRe: http://www.ijsinc.com/

Thunderbird Jeweler’s Supply is heRe: http://www.tbscorp.com/

I suggest you contact either Indian Jewelers Supply (Phil Woodward
has been a collector for many years) or Thundbird Jewelry Supply,
both out of Gallup, NM, USA.

Christine in Littleton, Massachusetts


#6

As a side note, the horseshoe shaped pendant is a Naja (or Nazcha),
which is the Navajo word for ‘crescent.’ Native Americans first saw
this design element on the headstalls or bridles of Spaniard horses
and adapted it as a jewelry component. The Spaniards most likely
borrowed it from the Moors, who used it as a talisman for warding
off the ‘evil eye.’ The Naja is frequently found as the pendant in
the classic southwestern Squash Blossom necklace. Dear Dave, Having
been raised in the southwest, and having sold a lot of authentic
Navajo jewelry, I am quite curious as to the source of your info. My
Navajo friends, who made Squash Blossom necklaces, always referred
to the centerpiece as the ‘Fertility’ , put it’s lore into a much
older era than the Spanish, and did not consider it complete without
the ‘seed’ between the enclosing arms of the 'Earth Mother.'
Please share, georockman


#7
Having been raised in the southwest, and having sold a lot of
authentic Navajo jewelry, I am quite curious as to the source of
your info. 

Fair question, George. Unfortunately my wife felt that only my
"impressive" looking jewelry books (i.e., hardback) should be in the
living room book cases, so a lot of my books are now in boxes in my
office along with my travel related guidebooks, maps, etc.

Anyway, I’ve read this, or similar interpretation in at least a
couple places. The first reference I can find that describes this is
Southwest Indian Designs With Some Explanations by Mark Tomas
Bahti, © 1994, Published by Treasure Chest Publications in Tucson,
AZ. ISBN 0-918080-51-7.

According to the back cover of the book, Mr. Bahti is “Considered an
authority on the arts and culture of the Southwest Indians, Mark
lectures widely and is active…” It also goes on to say that, “Mark
owns and operates Bahti Indian Art, a gallery his father established
in Tucson, AZ over 25 years ago.” There is also an extensive (two
page) bibliography at the end of the book.

I don’t claim to be such an authority, but his credentials seem
pretty solid to me! :slight_smile:

All the best,
Dave
Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)
dave@sebaste.com


#8

George, Regarding your query as to the origin of the idea that the
"naja" originated with the Spanish, one of the earliest references I
find is in Arthur Woodward’s book “Navajo Silver”, originally
published by the Museum of Northern Arizona in August 1938 as Museum
of Northern Arizona Bulletin 14. Mark Bahti, a founder and president
of the Indian Arts and Crafts Association, in his book “Collecting
Southwestern Native American Jewelry” published 1980, also
attributes the origin of the naja in North America to the Spanish.
There is some discussion of whether the Navajo obtained it directly
from the Spanish or whether it was gotten from other tribes,
(Delaware, Shawnee, Comanche), who themselves had obtained it from
the Spanish, however there is no indication of it’s use in North
America prior to the arrival of the Spanish. The Spanish are said to
have gotten it from the Moors and it’s earliest origins are traced
back to the days of the Romans.Ornaments incorporating two inverted
opposing boars tusks are said to have been used in Africa for
thousands of years. There are many other references which say the
same thing. Hope this helped. Jerry in Kodiak


#9

Dear Dave and George, in a world of crappy " Indian" jewelry
authentic is a blurry line to some. Gallup is not a Native American
run town. I just spoke today with a sand caster in Winslow who is
Navajo and I feel the only way to get authentic NA craftsmanship, if
that is important to you, is to buy from those you know. My family has
been doing business with the Bahti family for 2 generations and Mark
is the tops in the field both as an anthropologist and seller of NA
crafts. Sam Patania, Tucson