This heavy old Navajo Squash Blossom necklace comes from the rather extensive family collection of Pratt Nelson, who had trading posts at White Horse and Greasewood from the 1930's through 1962. He first came to know the Navajo people while taking a federal census; soon after he decided to start a trading post and move his family to the reservation. There the first four of his six children were born and attended the reservation school. My husband, the fifth child in the Nelson family, highly values childhood summers tagging along with one of the elders of the tribe, learning to love and respect the ways of the Dine. He also remembers Navajos bringing in goods to trade - mostly wool, pinon nuts, sheep, horses, rugs, and some silver work.
Not surprisingly, since Mr. Nelson is deceased, we have no record of when this particular necklace came to the trading post. Although each maker would have been known by name, most traditional silversmiths did not sign their work or leave a trademark. The necklace is believed to have come to the trading post sometime between 1930 and 1960.
Turquoise is bright blue with fine red-brown spiderweb matrix, typical of Bisbee.
Ten Squash Blossoms. Finely worked bezels are very nicely shaped to each stone, bordered with twisted fringe, stamped scalloped borders and leaf base.Single bead at base connecting to petal. Stones are well matched, averaging 3/4" x 1/2".
The Naja: Center Blossom is a generous 3 1/2" x 4" with center stone approximately 3/4" x 3/4", with six well proportioned slightly smaller stones.
Sturdy, stones well seated, strong double-beaded chain.
Patina? To leave or to polish? Although sterling can be highly polished to a bright shiny finish, we prefer to leave the patina on our older Native American jewelry, letting each gracefully show its age and unique character. Many feel that authentic patina also increases the value. To preserve the beauty, we gently clean the silver (not the turquoise!) with a silver polishing cloth. Whatever you prefer, this is a truly beautiful necklace!
A portion of the sales price is being donated to Navajo County Search and Rescue in Show Low, Arizona, in honor of my son who is a first responder and our Dine friends in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona, who have been hard hit by the Coronavirus.