Before we go into the history of Navajo turquoise jewelry, you should know a few things about the stone itself. Knowing the characteristics that constitute turquoise can help you picture and comprehend why the Navajo people of the past found it so appealing and why Navajo turquoise jewelry is still valued by nearly all civilizations today.
So, without further ado, let’s know about Navajo turquoise jewelry.
While the conventional opaque blue-green hue of turquoise is the most well-known, there are numerous varieties, including white, sky blue, powder blue, and yellowish-green. It was particularly appealing to Native Americans since it had blue, green, white, black, and occasionally brown: hues associated with the natural world. Turquoise’s texture and appearance can also vary based on its copper and aluminum deposits. One of the best things about Navajo turquoise jewelry is that each item is unique, discreetly expressing the tale of its origins as well as its journeys throughout the world. Few other stones inspire such wonder and mystery.
Navajo Artists' Native American Jewelry: A History
Turquoise means luck, pleasure, and health to the Navajo people. Turquoise is also the most often used gemstone in Native American jewelry. The Navajo were skilled in making Heishi necklaces and molding turquoise into beads. Heishi necklaces were smooth and had sewn beads.
The Navajos learned silversmithing from the Spanish and pueblos in the mid to late nineteenth century. Further, they began to blend silver with Navajo turquoise after learning how to a silversmith. Before visitors were interested in Navajo art, Navajo turquoise jewelry was primarily utilized for ceremonial and sacred activities.
The hues within the turquoise stone that depict the natural world are black, blue, white, and green. In traditional Navajo jewelry, a horseshoe-shaped emblem or a symbol called “Naja” appears frequently. The Mexican culture inspired the Naja emblem, which denotes good fortune.
The Navajo employed coarse and rough tools to make jewelry before receiving tools from traders and other civilizations, and they played an essential part in turquoise history.
Because of the requirements and desires of tourists, the Navajo have manufactured a variety of designs in addition to their traditional turquoise jewelry. Navajo turquoise jewelry typically had more turquoise beads than silver. Modern Navajo jewelry sometimes incorporates symbols that had little to do with Navajo culture, yet authentic Navajo vendors may still be found today.
It's More Than A Stone
The Navajo tribe not only used turquoise in their gorgeous and distinctive jewelry but also began to use it as a symbol for various things. The shifting colors of the stone were viewed as a technique to evaluate the wearer’s well-being and a way to restore vitality at any time required. The Navajo considered turquoise to be the messenger of good tidings and improved prosperity. To keep the evil away, the stone was hung from the ceilings of dwellings. It was also preserved in baskets and utilized on the outsides of tombs and dwellings for the same purpose. Tribespeople would offer it as a gift to others to indicate kinfolk. And warriors would bring it to the battlefield for excellent protection, good luck, and strength. It was eventually employed in jewelry manufacture to beautify the wearer’s body and effortlessly harness its power and aura.
A Status And Wealth Symbol
Turquoise has been featured extensively throughout numerous royal halls and tombs. These include ancient Egyptians, as a talisman for monarchs, a boon for warriors, and a shaman’s tool. People naturally incline toward beautiful and uncommon things like gold or diamonds. For this same reason, people used Turquoise as payment and collateral for the Navajo people.
Turquoise is an enduring emblem of elegance, power, riches, and position, and people will naturally seek it. The appeal of Navajo turquoise jewelry among jewelry and fashion today is a striking testament to its durability in societies across history. Navajo jewelry’s classic designs and styles will never go out of style. Besides, it will only grow more popular (not to mention precious) as resources become scarcer over time.
Identifying Navajo Jewelry Styles
Huge turquoise stones and large, hefty silver are hallmarks of Navajo jewelry. Navajo artisans employ inlay or cluster-type stones. However, they use more silver than other Southwestern tribes, such as the Hopi or Zuni. The polished silver in Navajo jewelry has a satin appearance rather than a dazzling brilliance. Navajo artisans may leave the stone in its natural free-form shape rather than carving it. The most distinguishing feature of Navajo jewelery is its substantial weight and overall clunkiness. If a Navajo item feels flimsy or lightweight, double-check your source to ensure it’s genuine.
But, if you buy your Navajo jewelry from Gonavajo, you need not double-check as the authenticity and quality go hand in hand with their products. So, why wait? Hook to their website and buy your favorite item before it goes out of stock.