The tradition of turquoise in Native American jewelry goes back many centuries. Turquoise is deeply meaningful for Native American tribes including the Navajo, so it’s no surprise so much Native American jewelry features turquoise so often. But what exactly is the significance of turquoise for Native Americans?
Turquoise represents strengths and skill for some tribes, while for others it represents protection and prosperity. Regardless of each tribes’ specific beliefs about the mineral, it became a central feature in much of Native American jewelry. There are turquoise earrings, turquoise pendants, turquoise necklaces, turquoise bracelets, turquoise carvings and many other options.
Turquoise is one of the first stones that people wore as jewelry. Part of the reason for this is how easy it is to cut and carve, though its stunning bright blue-green color plays a role, too.
Native American artisans today continue the tradition of these breathtaking turquoise jewelry designs. Now, Native American turquoise jewelry is known and worn around the world.
Turquoise And Navajo Tribes
The Navajo learned and perfected silversmithing and combined this skill with their Navajo turquoise to make different pieces of jewelry. Soon, they were very successful in the craft of making turquoise jewelry and used these pieces in ceremonies.
The turquoise itself is associated with the water, sky and Earth due, in part, to its natural blue and blue-green coloring. Using turquoise in items like jewelry allowed the Navajo to connect with these elements. The Navajo even used a turquoise stick to help them in their search for water in their naturally arid homeland.
In Navajo beliefs, the first man and woman on Earth used a stone with turquoise along the edges to create the sun. The Navajo people also believe that Estsanatlehi, the revered Changing woman, first appeared to them as either a turquoise figure or a turquoise drop. She is a symbol of prosperity, creation and protection, much like turquoise itself.
Because of these beliefs about the stone, Navajo babies receive turquoise beads at birth. Turquoise is also used in other ceremonies and rituals surrounding puberty, marriage and initiations. Simply put, turquoise is ingrained into the Navajo way of life and is a part of all their most significant life stages. Jewelry is just one way of using the stone.
When incorporated into Native American jewelry, turquoise can be shaped and used in several different ways. The Navajo are known for prominent styles like turquoise inlay rings, rare Naja pendants and the incredibly valuable squash blossom necklaces. These traditional pieces generally have large turquoise stones and the artisans who make them emphasize the natural quality of the turquoise.
Buy Beautiful Native American Turquoise Jewelry
The tradition of turquoise in Native American jewelry is complex and rich with meaningful symbolism. You can own one of these stunning pieces of turquoise Native American jewelry yourself and take part in that tradition, even if only in a small way.
Visit the Native American Treasures website for the most beautiful and authentic turquoise Native American jewelry. For tips and our latest updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram!