Squash Blossom Necklaces

March 22, 2022 until July 31, 2022


In this Special Exhibit we feature a wide selection of authentic, hand-crafted Native American silver necklaces, with a focus on pieces featuring elaborate silver squash blossoms.  Many include beautiful elements of turquoise.

Southwestern Indians have been using shell and stone to make jewelry since prehistoric times. After the arrival of the Spanish, they added silver to the materials they used.  The squash blossom necklace has three distinct parts—the round beads, the beads with petals, and the horseshoe-like pendant, or naja.  According to author Margaret Dubin [North American Indian Jewelry and Adornment: From Prehistory to the Present], the name of the necklace is credited to the Navajo, whose word in their native tongue translates to “bead which spreads out.”

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.  It has been determined that the squash blossoms of such a necklace were pomegranate blossoms seen on the Spanish Mexican clothing, but the term "squash blossom" has and will continue to be used.

We hope you enjoy this fine selection of silver and turquoise squash blossom necklaces.


View our other current and upcoming shows:

  • Pueblo Historic Ollas, Dough Bowls, and Storage Jars
  • Storytellers and Figurative Works from Cochiti Pueblo