Featured Squash Blossom Necklace...no mark/signature

Discussion in 'Jewelry' started by Shwikman, Mar 11, 2019.

  1. Shwikman

    Shwikman Member

    I was given this necklace. It’s quite large/heavy(included a quarter for scale), seems to be very well made, the stones are very consistent. All and all it’s a real stunner. A friend of mine suggested that any “really good” Native American jewelry should have a signature/mark. This has no marks whatsoever.
    I was wondering if anyone had any information or thoughts on the piece and whether the lack of a mark or signature is significant.
    Thank You!
    4D6DBF7D-02BF-4E0E-A547-645E74618276.jpeg A6A3B07A-7886-4900-B15F-BB3542471C93.jpeg EDE6C225-BA58-48E2-83CD-C69713BD2580.jpeg
  2. evelyb30

    evelyb30 Well-Known Member

    The exact opposite is true; the really good old stuff is almost never marked. Older pieces were rarely signed; if it was good enough, everyone in town knew whodunnit. This looks like the real deal; a real expert may come along and know where the stones came from.
    KSW, Aquitaine, reader and 9 others like this.
  3. Hollyblue

    Hollyblue Well-Known Member

    Without a maker's mark it could have been made by anyone,white,black,oriental,Dead Head,etc.
  4. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    it could have...but likely wasn't....

    lets see the back of the naja...

    In about 1880, the tri-petal form that we know as a squash blossom bead appeared. At first, tri-petal silver beads were simply interspersed with plain beads in a naja necklace. Then stones began to be added to the blossom beads partly to please the maker but mostly to satisfy customer demand.
    While usually associated with Navajo silversmiths, squash blossom necklaces are also made and worn by Pueblo and Zuni people. Zuni necklaces usually feature needlepoint designs.
    Although there can be any number of squash blossoms on each side of a necklace, there are often six on each side, making twelve squash blossoms and one central naja.
    reader, NewEngland, judy and 9 others like this.
  5. Shwikman

    Shwikman Member

    Here’s a shot of the back..thank you!
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  6. 2manybooks

    2manybooks Well-Known Member

    Looks like "old pawn" that I have seen and handled. Very nice gift! Signing/marking items did not become common until traders insisted that was what was expected with "real art".
    KSW, kyratango, judy and 6 others like this.
  7. Shwikman

    Shwikman Member

    That’s pretty much what I was hoping for. Thank you!
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  8. Hollyblue

    Hollyblue Well-Known Member

    What were you looking for? An answer no one can prove even if they had it in there hands.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019 at 1:24 AM
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  9. scoutshouse

    scoutshouse Well-Known Member

    It's gorgeous, either way.
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  10. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    Wow, what a gift. It is gorgeous, and Navajo in style. My guess is it was made in the 60s-70s, but @reader may have a better idea of the age.
    Ok, that is a friend you should maybe have a drink with, but not listen to when it comes to jewellery.:playful: Older Native American pieces are rarely signed.
    It may look that way, but it is best to forget that term. Old Pawn is only jewellery that has been part of the Navajo pawn system. Valuable items were pawned because the Navajo couldn't get bank loans.
    A lot of jewellery is randomly called Old Pawn, but very few pieces actually are. It is highly unlikely this beauty ever was. If you know its provenance and know for a fact that it was ever pawned by a Navajo owner, then you can say it is Old Pawn. Otherwise just forget the term, and be happy you have a beautiful necklace. That would be more than good enough for me.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019 at 1:22 PM
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  11. coreya

    coreya Well-Known Member

    reader, cxgirl, komokwa and 5 others like this.
  12. 2manybooks

    2manybooks Well-Known Member

    In a perfect world, all art would be purchased from the artist, after watching them make it. Authenticity would be assured. Unfortunately, many artists have died.

    Hallmarks, signatures, and documentation can be useful indicators, but are not infallible guarantees of authenticity as they can be faked.

    If we care about history and authenticity, we must rely on people who have studied particular art forms, working with examples that are documented as much as possible. With experience, it is possible to become familiar with the distinctive characteristics of an art form - styles, materials, technology - enough to express an educated opinion about undocumented examples.
    reader, KSW, Kimbert and 7 others like this.
  13. 2manybooks

    2manybooks Well-Known Member

    Good point. I used the term (putting it in quotes) to reference what others might have heard of before, to indicate some age.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019 at 10:52 AM
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  14. kyratango

    kyratango Bug jewellery addiction!

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  15. Taupou

    Taupou Well-Known Member

    There are two very common "myths" or "misconceptions" connected with Navajo jewelry.

    The first is the term Old Pawn, and the idea that it somehow associates the jewelry with age or quality. Neither is true. The term has become basically meaningless.

    The second is the idea that it is possible to identify the mine a turquoise stone comes from. The truth is, while some mines are known for producing a particular color or matrix combination, which have been given the name of that mine, it is virtually impossible to determine the source of a particular stone unless you were there when it was uncovered.

    There are mines all over the world, in China, Egypt, Australia, Iran, Mexico to name a few. Individual mines can produce a variety of colors. Turquoise can change color over time, with exposure to heat, chemicals, oils, etc. Other minerals can mimic turquoise, and other materials can be made to look like turquoise.

    In short, beware of any "experts" who claim they can identify the mine a particular stone came from.
    sch3gsd, Jivvy, kyratango and 10 others like this.
  16. Ownedbybear

    Ownedbybear Well-Known Member

    Well said Taupou. I do have one ring I bought from a pawn shop, but I'd still not call it Old Pawn! Most of my older NA stuff is unmarked.
    kyratango, scoutshouse and judy like this.
  17. 2manybooks

    2manybooks Well-Known Member

    I am increasingly sorry that I introduced the term into this discussion. Mea culpa. Although it did provide an opportunity for general education. :)
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019 at 3:34 PM
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  18. Shwikman

    Shwikman Member

    No worries! I’m quite certain that most “pre-owned” jewelry of this type for sale online probably uses the term in quotations. It’s a sort of catch phrase that seems to get people excited. Sometimes excitement and sceptisism go hand in hand, lol!
    Jivvy, kyratango, scoutshouse and 3 others like this.
  19. evelyb30

    evelyb30 Well-Known Member

    Old Pawn doesn't mean much any more, as mentioned, but if someone calls it "dead pawn" they'd better be able to produce the pawn ticket or a receipt from a pawn shop. Or else.
    kyratango, judy, scoutshouse and 3 others like this.
  20. reader

    reader Well-Known Member

    Nice squash and Taupou took the words right out of my mouth-if you weren’t standing there when it came out identification is in most cases a guesstimate and multiple veins can all come out of one mine.

    Fine NA jewelry signed by stamping really wasn’t consistent IMO until the 8Os

    I agree with AJ and would date the piece as late 60s through mid 70s. There is no question in my mind that the piece is a legit Navajo squash but since none of us saw it being made (and it’s unsigned as expected)it should always be sold on the internet as a Vintage 60s-70s Silver Turquoise Squash Blossom Necklace and cannot be listed as Navajo or Native American.

    Boy have I been sick with flu. Nasty stuff.
    Dawnno, Jivvy, kyratango and 4 others like this.
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