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!
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.
So 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.
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.