Navajo Jewlery Marks and Symbols
There are many ways to appreciate the history and culture of the Navajo people. One of the most intriguing areas of study is in the form of their jewelry. To learn more about jewelry marks and symbols within the Navajo culture is to learn a great deal about the Navajo peoples themselves. Historians and collectors alike will tell you that there is a great deal of interest to be found in this area.
Facts About Navajo Jewelry Mark And Symbols
Newcomers to the world of Navajo jewelry will certainly come across the basic pieces of information:
1. Jewelry, beads, and other similar pieces are a strong component to Navajo traditions and beliefs.
2. It was believed that the larger and more elaborate a piece of jewelry was, the more the person wearing it was worthy of the respect of those around them.
3. Silver, large stones, and organic shapes are frequently found in Navajo jewelry.
4. Given their geographic location (primarily throughout the Southwest), it makes sense the Navajo would use rocks and minerals from the area to create many of their pieces.
5. The stones in Navajo jewelry can be rough, feature a fine polishing job, or they might have gone through a carving process designed to create a unique geometric piece.
6. Starting around the 19th century, silver had a dramatic impact on the style of Navajo jewelry.
7. Many early Navajo jewelry makers utilized a style of creating jewelry that took into consideration Mexican iconography/jewelry-making approaches and native folklore.
8. Some of the silver jewelry pieces you’re likely going to find from Navajo jewelry makers (particularly those who specialize in working with silver) can include a Concho belt buckle or a squash bottom necklace. These necklaces feature an array of stonework flowers that surround a crescent shaped pendent.
9. It is not uncommon for a Navajo jewelry maker to use stone-casting and forge-soldering to create one piece from 2 silver forms.
10. Turquoise is an extremely important material to the Navajo people. It is easily the most common aspect of Navajo jewelry.
11. The color turquoise is designed to represent happiness, good health, and prosperous luck.
12. Black, white, blue, and green are the colors within turquoise stones. These colors are also capable of representing the natural world to the Navajo tribe.
13. The Naja symbol appears frequently in Navajo jewelry. This symbol has origins in Mexican culture, and it is designed to represent ideal fortune in life.
The marks and symbols of Navajo jewelry can go even deeper than that.