For your consideration is this vintage Native American in the Navajo tradition silver and turquoise squash blossom necklace. Current Federal law prohibits mentioning the tribal name on any unsigned jewelry. Pieces made in this era were usually unsigned. The piece exhibits exceptional craftsmanship. Particularly impressive is the quality of the silversmithy on the squash blossoms and the beads. It is a glorious, substantial, show-stopping and heavy, vintage Native American pawn silver and turquoise Squash Blossom necklace with naja (center pendant), that we purchased from a Navajo artisan at San Xavier del Bac outside of Tucson AZ during one of the Market Days around Christmas in the late 1980s. It was estimated that the squash blossom necklace was from the early 1950s, and sold to us as having been made by a Navajo Artisan. We see no reason to doubt this origin. The interesting use of the multiples of rainbows wrapping around the bezel of each stone leads the eye to the Turquoise at each center. The intricate detail in the sterling silver enhances the natural patina surrounding the Turquoise Stones. Each turquoise stone is hand cut and varies in size and shape of cabochon, as well as, of course, in the matrix and color variation of the natural stone. The natural blues, greens and browns of the turquoise are so striking, yet subtle. Please enjoy the lovely matrix of these awesome turquoise stones. They are very lovely. The necklace was sold to me as being made of Kingman turquoise but it could also be from the Royston or Ajax Turquoise Mines, or even from Crow Springs, also known as the Blue Bird, that was discovered in 1909 near Tonopah, Nevada. This mine produces a nice blue/green turquoise mix with a blackish brown matrix. This mine produces a higher percent of green colored turquoise. It's pretty tan and brown matrix bring this turquoise alive. It is also formed in the same Ryolite host rock as Ajax, Pilot Mountain, and Royston and is in great condition~all are stones are secure in their hand set bezel settings. It is a heavy piece, with twelve (12) handmade squash blossoms that are each approximately two (2") inches long. The naja is huge, with five (5) turquoise pieces and a center sixth (6th) huge turquoise drop piece. This drop piece within the naja symbolizes that the necklace is for a virginal young woman, we have been told. There are over one hundred eighty (180) silver seamed hollow beads, or "Navajo pearls", as they are known. This fantastic necklace measures approximately twenty eight (28") inches long from each clasp and the bottom Squash Blossom naja measures three (3") inches long x two and three quarters ( 2 3/4") inches wide and has 6 turquoise stones. There are no markings, as is so often the case with these old pieces that were made to be worn by tribal members, rather than to be sold to tourists. It was tested to insure the sterling silver. We have left the old patina as we found it, and I have occasionally worn it that way for decades. It's in good condition with no cracked or chipped stones. We chose not to clean this awesome Native American Southwest OLD PAWN piece to protect the natural patina of this SQUASH BLOSSOM NECKLACE. As it is, the necklace is breathtaking, either worn or displayed.
We guarantee all our items to be authentic. Due to our items being antique, vintage and pre-owned, there could be and there often is light wear. We try to describe items to the best of our ability, but please review photos and ask any additional questions prior to purchasing.
WHAT IS DEAD PAWN?
For the Southwestern Native American, of such tribes as Hopi, Zuni, Navajo, and Pueblo, pawn refers to the practice of converting art and other intrinsically valuable possessions into income for life's necessities. Pawn can be items from antiquity, such as heirloom pieces of handmade jewelry or crafts that are passed from a family to become pawn and hence into the public marketplace. Because most pawned merchandise is of necessary value in the seller's life, the percentage of pawn that goes unredeemed is quite small, reportedly about five percent.
Merchandise that remains unredeemed in a pawn shop after loan expiration is known as "dead pawn," and items of dead pawn are among the most highly valued Native American artifacts to be found on the open market.
Some pieces of dead pawn are antique or old, while other pieces have been pawned by the ORIGINAL ARTIST or by others, in an unused state. It is difficult to tell the age of a piece of jewelry, but some indicators are "wear and tear," evidence of continued previous polishing, the style of the setting, or style of the piece itself, the type of stone or material used in the settings.
Please Note: The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 is Federal Law. If the piece is unsigned - or signed such that a particular artist cannot be identified, so the tribe that the artist or artisan belongs to cannot be CORRESPONDINGLY identified, then the Law requires that -even though one may know the style and elements and type, and that the ways and means in which it is made definitely identifies the article as of a particular tribe- the piece cannot be identified as being a particular tribal piece, say of the Hopi or Zuni or Navajo tribe- but one can say it is similar to or same as or in the style of a tribe- So for my jewelry that was purchased much pre-1990, either from artisans on the Reservations, or from galleries or trading posts on Reservations- I can give that purchase location information.Further, the law applies whether the piece was made in 1890, 1990 or 2009. If it is unmarked, or the artist mark does not indicate a particular tribal affiliation, I can say it looks like a particular tribe and in what ways I feel this is so- but I cannot say it IS a particular tribe. That breaks the Federal Law and is a highly sensitive issue with Native American peoples. I am neither a lawyer nor a Federal Agent, but I try to maintain the integrity of my shop by complying with all known laws.
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