The Evolution of the Squash Blossom Necklace: Patterns and Popular Turquoise

By Gemexi Team | Turquoise
  • Updated On Jul 13, 2023
  • img
  • img
  • img
  • img
The Evolution of the Squash Blossom Necklace: Patterns and Popular Turquoise

The squash blossom necklace is an iconic piece of Native American jewelry that has captivated the hearts of collectors and enthusiasts for generations. With its distinctive design and intricate patterns, the squash blossom necklace holds a rich cultural significance and has evolved over time. In this detailed article, we will explore the fascinating evolution of the squash blossom necklace, delve into its intricate patterns, and discover the popular types of turquoise used in its creation.

I. The Origins of the Squash Blossom Necklace:

The origin of the squash blossom necklace can be traced back to the Navajo and Pueblo tribes of the Southwest. The necklace design draws inspiration from Spanish and Moorish influences brought by early Spanish explorers and settlers to the region. The necklace's name, "squash blossom," is derived from the crescent-shaped blossoms that resemble the blossoms of squash or melon plants.

II. Traditional Design Elements of the Squash Blossom Necklace:

The squash blossom necklace is characterized by several key design elements that have remained consistent throughout its evolution:
  1. Crescent-Shaped Naja Pendant: The naja pendant is the central focal point of the squash blossom necklace. It is a crescent-shaped pendant that symbolizes fertility and protection. The naja pendant often features intricate silverwork and can be adorned with turquoise, coral, or other gemstones.
  2. Blossom Beads: The "squash blossoms" are beads that flank the naja pendant on either side. These beads are typically crescent-shaped and often feature silverwork, stamping, or other decorative details. The number of blossom beads can vary, with some necklaces having as few as six and others featuring a dozen or more.
  3. Bench Beads: The bench beads are spherical or cylindrical beads that form the main body of the necklace. These beads are often handcrafted from silver and strung together, creating a stunning chain that supports the naja pendant and blossom beads.

III. Evolution of Squash Blossom Necklace Patterns:

Over time, the squash blossom necklace has evolved, incorporating various patterns and motifs that reflect the cultural heritage and artistic expressions of different Native American tribes. Let's explore some of the prominent patterns and designs seen in squash blossom necklaces:
  1. Traditional Navajo Stamping: Traditional Navajo squash blossom necklaces often feature intricate stamping patterns on the silver components. These patterns can include geometric designs, thunderbirds, arrows, or other symbolic motifs. The stamping adds texture and visual interest to the necklace, showcasing the Navajo silversmith's skill and attention to detail.
  2. Zuni Needlepoint and Petit Point: Zuni artists have brought their unique style to squash blossom necklaces with the introduction of needlepoint and petit point techniques. Needlepoint involves setting small, needle-shaped gemstones, often turquoise, in intricate patterns. Petit point, on the other hand, utilizes tiny teardrop-shaped gemstones. These techniques create a delicate and precise mosaic-like effect, enhancing the beauty of the necklace.
  3. Overlay and Inlay: Some contemporary squash blossom necklaces incorporate overlay and inlay techniques. Overlay involves layering silver sheets, with the top sheet intricately cut to create patterns and designs. Inlay, on the other hand, involves setting gemstones or other materials within the silver. These techniques result in exquisite and eye-catching squash blossom necklaces that showcase the mastery of the artists.

IV. Popular Turquoise Used in Squash Blossom Necklaces:

Turquoise, with its captivating hues, has long been associated with the squash blossom necklace. Different types of turquoise are used to adorn the naja pendant, blossom beads, and other components of the necklace. Let's explore some of the popular turquoise varieties commonly used in squash blossom necklaces:
  1. Sleeping Beauty Turquoise: Sleeping Beauty turquoise, named after the mine in Arizona where it was sourced, is highly sought-after for its vibrant sky-blue color. It is prized for its uniform color and lack of matrix. Squash blossom necklaces featuring Sleeping Beauty turquoise exude a sense of elegance and timeless beauty.
  2. Kingman Turquoise: Kingman turquoise, mined in Arizona, is known for its rich blue color and distinctive matrix patterns. The matrix can range from black to golden-brown, adding depth and character to the turquoise. Squash blossom necklaces adorned with Kingman turquoise exude a sense of earthy sophistication.
  3. Royston Turquoise: Royston turquoise, mined in Nevada, is characterized by its bold blue-green color and unique matrix patterns. The matrix can feature shades of brown, gold, or black, creating a captivating contrast against the turquoise. Squash blossom necklaces showcasing Royston turquoise embody a rustic yet vibrant charm.
  4. Morenci Turquoise: Morenci turquoise, mined in Arizona, is renowned for its deep blue color and pyrite matrix. The presence of pyrite imparts a shimmering effect, adding an element of sparkle to the turquoise. Squash blossom necklaces adorned with Morenci turquoise radiate a sense of sophistication and elegance.

Beyond the Squash Blossom Necklace: Inspired Jewelry Pieces:

  1. Squash Blossom Earrings:
Inspired by the pendant of the Squash Blossom necklace, Squash Blossom earrings feature smaller versions of the crescent-shaped Naja design. These earrings often incorporate turquoise stones and intricate silverwork, capturing the essence of the iconic necklace in a more wearable form.
  1. Squash Blossom Bracelets:
Squash Blossom bracelets are another adaptation of the traditional necklace design. They typically feature a smaller Naja pendant at the center, flanked by silver beads and often adorned with turquoise stones. These bracelets are a stunning addition to any jewelry collection, embodying the timeless beauty of the Squash Blossom style.

  1. Squash Blossom Rings:
Squash Blossom rings feature a miniature Naja design at the center, surrounded by silverwork and sometimes accented with turquoise or other gemstones. These rings capture the essence of the Squash Blossom necklace on a smaller scale, allowing individuals to carry the iconic design on their fingers.


The squash blossom necklace is a testament to the artistry and cultural heritage of Native American tribes. Through its evolution, the necklace has incorporated various patterns and designs that reflect the traditions and artistic expressions of different tribes. From traditional Navajo stamping to Zuni needlepoint and contemporary overlay and inlay techniques, each squash blossom necklace is a unique masterpiece. Adorned with popular turquoise varieties such as Sleeping Beauty, Kingman, Royston, and Morenci, these necklaces exemplify the timeless beauty and cultural significance of Native American jewelry.

Write Comments
No comments
Write Your Comments