Old Pawn Jewelry has a special story to tell. Much like the cultures we represent, vintage Indian jewelry carries a great legacy. Over the course of its lifetime: belts, bolo ties, rings and necklaces have been passed down from generation to generation. Not only are they believed to provide good health, it was a way to carry ones wealth with them.
Many Old Pawn pieces were inlayed with turquoise which made them highly valuable and a way to secure fortune in times of trouble. If financial support was needed, families would pawn their heirlooms for a specific period of time. For thousands of years, symbols have told stories and have also served as a method to gain power over the forces and the phenomena which effect a society or a person. The inverted crescent pendant on squash-blossom necklaces, called the'Naja' by the Navajo. Is found in various design forms throughout the world cultures.As a crescent, this form goes back as far as the Paleolithic period. It is mentioned in the book of Judges as an ornament worn around the necks of camels. In the Phoenician culture, Astarte was the goddess of fertility and she was represented by the inverted crescent as well. As pendants, the inverted crescent has also been found in ancient Roman, and Crete artifacts. During the Middle Ages, the Moors rode out of the East and conquered lands in a westerly direction including eight centuries of occupation in Spain. They adopted the symbol as a bridle. Ornament, and thought the inverted crescent would protect both themselves and their horses from'the evil eye'. When the Spaniards came to South and Central America, they brought that same idea with them for the protection of their horses and of their soldiers. Thus, the Moors taught the Spanish, who taught the Mexicans, who taught the Navajo their belief systems and metallurgy.
Coming from another direction in North America, the inverted crescent symbol was on various types of trade goods brought from the East coast by other Europeans. The crescent pendant was used from the early 1800's on, by the Shawnee, Delaware, Cheyenne, Comanche and Navajo tribes, among others. However, metal work of various European influences was found in the southwest as early as the 1700's. At this time, the Navajo were fierce warriors who more often raided but occasionally traded with their neighbors, the Plains Tribes. By the 1820's, Southern Plains metalworkers had learned the processes of cutting, stamping and cold hammering.
Much of this work was produced in German silver. German silver was a different alloy as compared with the Mexican silver, which was often used by the Navajo. Through contact with either the Spanish and/or the various Plains Tribes, the Navajo adopted the symbol of the inverted crescent for their horses. The Naja was put on the horse headstall, the front center band of the horse bridle, and later, the Naja moved into the realm of necklaces. In a 1930's interview, "At one time, every Navajo who could afford a silver headstall had one on his horse, " according to Grey Moustache, (a Navajo silversmith who worked the art from the late 1800's into the 1900's).
In early 1900 photographs of Hopi dancers, the Naja can be seen as central component of beaded necklaces. The item "VINTAGE STERLING SILVER TURQUOISE SQUASH BLOSSOM NAJA NECKLACE NATIVE AMERICAN" is in sale since Friday, April 27, 2018. This item is in the category "Jewelry & Watches\Ethnic, Regional & Tribal\Native American\Necklaces & Pendants". The seller is "4744366" and is located in Andover, Massachusetts.This item can be shipped to United States.