Large Silver Navajo Beads and Naja Necklace

C4569R-necklace.jpg

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Jeweler Unknown
  • Category: Necklaces
  • Origin: Diné of the Navajo Nation
  • Medium: silver
  • Size:
    clasps at nape to naja 14”;
    naja 3-¼” long x 2-⅞” wide
  • Item # C4569R
  • Price: $1500

A simple hook and loop secures this necklace.

Yet another totally unique version of the squash blossom, this necklace is creative and fabulous. Rarely before have beads been crafted and strung quite like this.  They are strung on squarely braided wire, making this just over one pound sterling silver necklace substantial and sturdy.  Navajo Silver Beads are often referred to as Navajo Pearls.

 

Beads like this are made by creating two hollow half domes and soldering them together in ball-like fashion.  Each bead half has been incised with ten lines extending outward from its hole and topped with small circles.  These are then joined by stamped arches resembling rain clouds and when taken together give the beads’ edge a corkscrew-like pattern. There are thirty-six beads split into two groups of eighteen. 

The pendant of this necklace is a naja curved, and horseshoe shaped.  This naja is strong and solid.  Three silver ridged sections resembling a paper fan adhere the naja to the necklace at its crown.  Each arm is similarly ridged but flattened into a crescent shape and incised with five half-moons.  The tips are circular and mirror these ridged incisions above.  We do not know who made this sterling silver necklace, but the hallmark style and stamping suggest the artist to be of the Navajo Nation.

What is a Naja? Early Navajo-made jewelry contained elements that were borrowed directly from Spanish colonial and Mexican ornament. One of these items is the naja, a crescent form of Moorish origin. The Spanish conquerors in the Southwest outfitted their horses in elaborate silver ornaments—one of which was the naja that hung directly on the forehead of the horse as a part of the bridle. Today, it is still seen in both Pueblo and Navajo modern jewelry.


Condition: some natural patina has occurred over time and the integrity of the necklace is maintained.  It is in excellent condition. 

Provenance: this Large Silver Navajo Beads and Naja Necklace is from an estate in eastern Washington. 

Recommended Reading: Navajo Jewelry: A Legacy of Silver and Stone by Lois Jacka

Relative Links: Southwest Indian JewelryNavajonecklace

Close up view off the naja.
Jeweler Unknown
  • Category: Necklaces
  • Origin: Diné of the Navajo Nation
  • Medium: silver
  • Size:
    clasps at nape to naja 14”;
    naja 3-¼” long x 2-⅞” wide
  • Item # C4569R
  • Price: $1500

C4569R-necklace.jpgC4569R-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.