Symbolism and Origins of Modern Native American Turquoise Jewelry

Symbolism and Origins of Modern Native American Turquoise Jewelry

Intricate & Handcrafted Native American Turquoise Jewelry

Turquoise jewelry means more to Native Americans of the Southwest than its mere aesthetic value. For many nations, turquoise is a sign of power and status. Native American turquoise jewelry as we know it originated when Spanish silversmiths brought the craft of blacksmithing to the region when they conquered the Puebloans in the 16th century. The Navajo are believed to have learned the art from Atsidi Salvi in the 1850s.

Navajo Turquoise Jewelry

The symbolism of turquoise for good fortune is well-known among the Navajo, many of whom store it in high places in their homes for good luck today. It was also given to Navajo warriors for protection before battle, and that legacy can also be seen today in authentic bolos and necklaces made in the Navajo Nation. Many people also wear turquoise out of respect for the goddess Estsanatlehi at coming-of-age ceremonies; so you’ll see turquoise in earrings and pins as well.

Turquoise Jewelry of the Zuni Nation

Like the Navajo, the Zuni are known for their skilled craftsmanship of turquoise jewelry. They’re known for creating beautiful pendants and bolos with the sun or the thunderbird on them. For them, the stone is associated with the land itself. Traditionally, blue turquoise is associated with men while green turquoise is for women. Most contemporary or vintage Zuni jewelry, however, is crafted without necessarily following these associations, so blue turquoise jewelry for women is not unusual. Petitpoint stone work is among the most prized design the Zuni have crafted, and this intricate work can be found on necklaces, bolos and vintage pieces.

Turquoise Symbolism of Other Southwestern Nations

For the Hopi, turquoise represents the waste of the lizard that travels between worlds, which makes it quite valuable. The Pima people see it as symbolic of healing, and the Apache have a similar reverence for it as a sign of hope and rainfall. Apache hunters and warriors would tie turquoise to their bows for good fortune, and Apache turquoise earrings and necklaces represent a modern continuation of this tradition.

Take a Look at Turquoise Jewelry

We have examples of all types of Native American turquoise jewelry available for you to purchase and enjoy. Shop our vast selection of authentic Native American Turquoise Jewelry, including Necklaces, Bracelets, Earrings, Bolos, and Vintage Native American Jewelry set with Turquoise, or the “Stone of Life.”

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