Navajo Culture And The Importance Of Turquoise
In the Navajo culture, turquoise holds a special significance. The semi-precious gemstonepopularly called the “stone of life” has been used in Navajo jewelry for centuries. If you are a jewelry connoisseur, beautiful Navajo sterling silver cuff bracelets and necklaces adorning turquoise will take your breath away. The history of turquoise or “Doo tl’ izh ii” jewelry as Navajos call it, is long and fascinating.
Turquoise has prominently featured in countless royal halls and tombs- a talisman for kings, a boon for warriors, a tool for shamans.The popularity of Navajo turquoise jewelry even todayis a testimony of its longevity across cultures of different eras. The iconic designs of Navajo jewelry are always going to be in style, and they will continue to be desirable for years to come.
Turquoise And Navajo Culture
The significance of turquoise in Navajo culture was immense as becomes clear from its use in rituals, ceremonies, and day-to-day life.Navajos considered turquoise to be the bringer of good fortune. The gemstone was stored in baskets or hanged from ceilings to ward off evil. The boundaries of homes and graves were lined with it. Warriors carried it to battles for strength and protection. Hunters carried it to excursions for safety and luck. It was exchanged among people to promote kinship ties or as gifts.
As their everyday life depended on turquoise, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Navajos started adorning their body with this scared gemstone to harness its power.Navajo sterling silver cuff braceletswith stunning turquoise pieces maybe just fashion statements for you but for the Navajos they were much more than adornments.
Some Native American legends say that when it rained after a long drought, the tears of people falling on the earth seeped inside and formed turquoise. The gemstone was central to various spiritual ceremonies. In one ceremony a piece of turquoise was cast into the river with a prayer to Neinilii or the rain god. While praying to the wind spirits, pieces of turquoise were thrown into the air as it was believed that the spirits were seeking the gemstone.
Silversmithing And Navajo Jewelry
It is believed that Atsidi Sani or “Old Smith” learned silversmithing around 1850-1853 from a Mexican silversmith. He became the first Navajo blacksmith. The Spanish settlers in the area also had a huge influence on the silverwork of the time.
The Navajos learned silversmithing from Atsidi Sani and started creating objects like buckles for daily use. Crescent-shaped pendants were also created. They were called “najas.” Disks for decorating belts called “conchos” were also made.
Atsidi Chon started adorning his silver creations with turquoise during the early 1900s. The result was a unique Navajo turquoise jewelry style which has been popular ever since. The art of silversmithing was taught by Atsidi Chon to the Zuni tribe. Southwestern tribes started using jewelry as currency and trading in it during the same time.
Where To Find
If you plan to buy Navajo silver turquoise jewelry, ensure that you purchase only from authentic sources. NAVAJO ARTIST is a trustworthy name when it comes to Navajo jewelry. Their Native American beaded necklaces are gorgeous!
Author’s Bio: The author is an avid blogger and a jewelry connoisseur. The article is about Navajo sterling silver cuff bracelets and Native American beaded necklaces.
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