Is this a rare style of Squash Blossom Necklace? Is it vintage?

Hi Paula,
My husband recently purchased a squash blossom necklace for me at an auction.   There is no signature…and we have no idea how old it is, just that we were told it is vintage.   What makes it vintage?  How old does it have to be?
It is the most beautiful squash blossom necklace I have ever seen.  Lots of silver in the quarter size settings and the turquoise is veined so beautifully.
I have looked all over the net – trying to find a similar piece – but none of them have the setting style that my piece has.   I am attaching photos of the naja and the entire necklace and the back.   Wondering if this style is rare or if the artist hasn’t done a lot of work in this style?   Anything you could tell me about it would be appreciated.   Because it isn’t marked, I have no idea who the artist is…but it is excellent work!
DSCN3795 DSCN3797 DSCN3799Hi Shannon,
First of all, what unique stones !! ((As far as what kind of stones they are, be sure to read the comments left by other readers.))
Your necklace looks very handmade as evidenced by the smooth bezels and the handmade leaves.
As far as the leaves and tendrils, those are common Navajo design elements. Although your squash blossom necklace has no blossoms (like in the photo below) it is still configured in the squash blossom necklace style.
Here are a few Navajo items that use leaves and tendrils.
N201-squash-turq-nugget-2PR510-55-SF-turq-draper-1PR605-625-SF-coral-turq-1 PR606-6-SF-coral-leaf-1So to answer if your necklace is rare ? The stones are unique and the fact that it is very handmade and has no blossoms……all unique features, so a treasure for you ! As to whether it is Native American made, I do not want to venture a guess from photos.
As far as the definition of vintage, antique, etc etc., all of that is up for interpretation depending on the category of the item and who is using the words. But these are the guidelines we use here at horsekeeping.

Vintage is 30 years old or older, so something made in the early 1980s or before.


Vintage Corn Row Bracelet

We call a piece NOS, New Old Stock, if it is at least 20 years old but has never been used.
Below is a NOS (New Old Stock) bracelet made in the 1970s but never used.
The term antique (which loosely means about 50-100 years old but more accurately 80-100 years old) is usually not used in relation to Native American pieces, but First Phase is. You can read about First Phase here. Note that there are a number of sellers who call things First Phase that are really contemporary. What they should say is First Phase Style or something like that – a design that harkens back to an older piece. True First Phase pieces are from approximately 1860-1900.
Retro (from a style era past or a revival of a past style)  is another word that isn’t really used often with Native American jewelry but if it were used it might be used to describe contemporary versions of Fred Harvey era trading post items – when people see the symbol bracelets, for example, they say “that’s retro”.
Retro Fred Harvey bracelet.

5 thoughts on “Is this a rare style of Squash Blossom Necklace? Is it vintage?

  1. I’m sorry to say I have a somewhat contrary opinion.
    It’s hard to tell from pictures, of course.

    I’m not so sure the necklace is set with real turquoise. It appears to me to be dyed magnesite, a white stone that takes dyes well and sometimes is found in cauliflower looking nuggets like this. The whitish tips of several stones was my clue. Not all parts are equally dyed. The blackish “matrix” in the crevices is likely a dye also. The black is applied and then mostly wiped or tumble polished off. This enhanced matrix technique is used for real turquoise as well as stones like these.
    To my eye there is a question about the metal. The beads are manufactured, not the seamed bench made or furnace soldered types seen on Paula’s Necklace. They might be plated steel or brass. (A magnet will detect steel or iron.) The mountings have the slightly greyer color of “nickle silver,” a copper nickle alloy that contains no silver. Any coin shop and many jeweler’s who buy scrap can quickly test the metal quality with a drop of nitric acid on the back of one of the flat plate. If copper based the drop bubbles up green. If not it will leave a creamy spot after the acid is washed off. If it was sold as sterling you may have some recourse from the seller.

    Is it vintage? Possibly as nickle silver was used the last time silver prices shot sky high. It’s harder to work than sterling, stiffer, less easy to form and shape.

    I hope I’m wrong.

  2. Pingback: What does “Vintage” mean in relation to Native American Jewelry? | Native American Jewelry Tips

  3. This belonged to my great grandmother. We attended Pow Wows weekly where she purchased her jewlry from various Native American vendors. I know it to be over 50 years old and unsigned. When she purchased it the price was $750. I’m curious about its worth. I can not tell how to upload my pictures?

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