Navajo Sterling Silver and Turquoise Cluster Style Squash Blossom Necklace by Larry Begay

C4328A-necklace.jpg

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Larry Moses Begay, Diné Jeweler
  • Category: Necklaces
  • Origin: Diné of the Navajo Nation
  • Medium: Sterling Silver, Turquoise
  • Size: 25” Long;
    Blossoms: 1-¾” x ¾”;
    Naja: 3-½” x 3”
  • Item # C4328A
  • Price: $850.00

Diné silversmith Larry Moses Begay cut, polished and set more than 230 small sections of turquoise in this cluster-style squash blossom necklace. The necklace features 12 finely crafted oval blossoms, each with 14 delicate pieces of sky-blue turquoise that were carefully set in sawtooth bezels interspersed with small silver drops and twisted wire. 

The centerpiece of the necklace is a spectacular naja consisting of rows of small turquoise ovals separated and framed with a series of twisted wire, silver drops and silver wire.  An ancient traditional symbol of protection—the naja motif— traveled from fifteenth century Moorish African to Spain and from there across the ocean to Mexico.  From nineteenth century Mexico the shape became a popular element with Diné silversmiths.

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 the naja is associated with the jewelry tradition of the Diné of the American Southwest.  It is still recognized as a symbol of protection and good fortune. 

This necklace was made in the late twentieth century and is not as heavy as pieces made earlier when the style first became popular. The lighter gauge silver makes the necklace more comfortable to wear.  It is signed with the artist’s initials LMB


Condition: The necklace is in excellent condition.

Provenance: The Navajo Sterling Silver and Turquoise Cluster Style Squash Blossom Necklace by Larry Begay  is from the collection of a  Santa Fe resident

Recommended Reading:

- Indian Silver: Navajo and Pueblo Jewelers by Margery Bedinger

Southwest Silver Jewelry by Paula Baxter

Relative Links: Navajo NationSouthwest Indian JewelryLarry Moses Begay

Close up view of the naja element of this necklace.
Larry Moses Begay, Diné Jeweler
  • Category: Necklaces
  • Origin: Diné of the Navajo Nation
  • Medium: Sterling Silver, Turquoise
  • Size: 25” Long;
    Blossoms: 1-¾” x ¾”;
    Naja: 3-½” x 3”
  • Item # C4328A
  • Price: $850.00

C4328A-necklace.jpgC4328A-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.