To the Navajo tribe, the color turquoise represents happiness, luck, and health. Turquoise is also the most common component of Native American Jewelry. The Navajo were talented in molding turquoise into beads, and making Heishi necklaces. Heishi necklaces were smooth necklaces with stitched beads.
In the mid to late nineteenth century, the Navajos had learned silversmithing from the Spanish and pueblos. After learning how to silversmith, the Navajos began to combine silver with the Navajo turquoise. The Navajo turquoise jewelry was only used for ceremonies and religious rituals before tourists took interest into the Navajo art.
Black, white, blue, and green were the colors within the turquoise stone which represent the colors of the natural world. A horseshoe-shaped symbol or a symbol called “Naja” appeared often in tradition Navajo jewelry. The symbol Naja was obtained from the Mexican culture, which represents good fortune.
Squash blossom necklaces and Navajo turquoise inlay rings were the two most famous styles of jewelry produced. The Squash blossom necklaces are made from silver and turquoise with the Naja symbol pendant.
The Navajo used coarse and rough tools for manufacturing jewelry before they were given tools from traders and other cultures, playing an important role in turquoise history. They make hammers and anvils out of railroad metal scrap.
Because of the tourists needs and wants, The Navajo have produced many styles unlike their traditional turquoise jewelry. The traditional Navajo turquoise jewelry usually contained more turquoise beads than silver. The modern Navajo Jewelry often included symbols that have little or nothing to do with Navajo culture, although you can still find genuine Navajo dealers today.