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Archive for October, 2011


Signed Navajo Squash Blossom Necklace Earrings by findtreasures on Etsy.com

You have seen spectacular Native American jewelry. Squash blossom necklaces threaded with rolled silver beads. Delicate silver squash blossom designed in a variety of sizes, adorned with splashes of color deep blue or green turquoise, fire red coral, shells of abalone or oyster which remind the viewer of the earth and sky.

Vintage Squash blossom Necklace, Red Coral and Sterling Silver by keyoinnewolf studio, Etsy.com

Sound magical, doesn’t it. Have you ever wondered about the history of the squash blossom and horseshoe shape that is used so much in Navajo jewelry? Well, I did and here is a bit of info I discovered.

Way back when and long before I was born ((remember, I am vintage, not antique)), any Navajo… (Actually, Navajo’s refer to members of their tribe as Diné, or The People. However, the tribe uses the word Navajo as the official spelling. — Sorry, compulsive moment.)

ANYWAY…. at that time any Navajo who could afford a silver headstall on his horse had one. (insert picture of what a headstall is). Back then, headstalls and all other silver items were made out of US dollars and coins. However, it seemed that the government was not too thrilled in having their silver coins melted and turned into jewelry. So what the US Government did was sent out an order telling the Navajo to stop doing that or else.

From that time on the Navajo obtained silver from Mexico which was a much softer silver than US coins and easier to work with. The horseshoe pendant or raja as it is called by the Navajo, were initially used as horse bridle amulets and later on as necklace pendants.

We should be forever thankful and appreciate the Navajo’s skill and craftsmanship which go into each and every handmade squash blossom necklace. Their history and culture are part of this land and a part of their jewelry as well.

Navajo Sterling Turquoise Squash Blossom Necklace. Kingman,1950 - Mercy Madge! on Etsy

Squash blossom necklace in green from Keyonniewolfstudio on Etsy.com

 

Sterling Turquoise Abalone Squash Blossom Necklace by No Minimalist Here Shop on Etsy.com

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Going through some antique jewelry my grandmother left me I came upon a wonderfully distinctive art deco ring made with small greyish pave style crystals and a dark centerpiece stone.

Antique Art Deco Ring

Being the curious type I decided to do some research the stones in this ring and discovered that the small shiny grey faceted stones are called marcasite, which is another name for pyrite, classified as a semi precious stone.

Apparently, Marcasite/Pyrite was used quite a bit in jewelry in the 1800’s Deco period (1920’s – 1930’s.)  The two center stones in the above ring are black onyx (also classified as a semi-precious stone) which you will find in many pieces of jewelry during this period.

Art Deco Sterling Marcasite Floral Bar Pin by Fibber McGeez on Etsy

Here is another lovely example of Art Deco I discovered in Fibber McGee’z. This pin is classic Art Deco. If you look carefully at the pin, you will see that it tells a story of a flower garden – the square centerpiece of flowers, perhaps daisies and the at the right and left of the square of daisy’s is what looks like leafy vine topped by a simple stylized flower.

I think the important to fully enjoy Art Deco is to view the patterns within the pattern, which are rather geometric in shape, as well as the “shimmer value” of the stones within each piece.

Loral Leaves Marcasite Necklace by Etsy shop ilie pea

Now we go Retro in the lovely Retro (1935-1945) Loral leaves necklace marcasite necklace which I found in Etsy shop, lile pea. The delicate leaves with their Marcasite jewels seem to compel the viewer to once again enter a garden and surround her neck in leafy jeweled glory.

Vintage Art Deco Marcasite and sterling Ring by CRYSTAL CREEK 2

Changing the pattern and back to Art Deco, is this organic in origin is this graceful Art Deco Marcasite ring which can be found in CRYSTAL CREEK2.  This ring shows the classic swirl pattern embellished by marcasite crystals.

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