Restringing a Squash Blossom Necklace

When this arrived in a recent estate lot, I went eeek ! and then promptly contacted our favorite repair shop. Although we can make minor repairs and alterations here at our store, we leave something like this to a professional that has experience with Native American jewelry.

A jumble of beads and a broken wire – I wonder if everything is here to make a necklace again??!!

The 14 mm handmade beads are stamped on both side and so are the blossoms – quite rare !

As usual Henry did his magic – straightening any bent blossom petals, balancing all the beads beautifully, making a new hook and eye closure….resulting in a treasure of a necklace.

The repair shop we use…….

Diane Radeke
P. O. Box 55935
Phoenix, AZ  85078

See this related article

Shortening a Squash Blossom Necklace for Paula


Why do Navajo Pearls have hook and eye closures?

Dear Paula,

My concern is about the hook and eye closures on the silver beads (Navajo Pearls).  Are these secure?  I would think that they could fall off easily and do not understand why they do not come with a lobster claw or more secure closure.  Have most customers been satisfied with this kind of closure or do they tend to lose their jewelry? Is there anything that can be done to make this closure more secure?

Thank you.



Hello MM,

The hook and eye is traditional as the early Navajo artists did not have access to lobster claw clasps or other mechanical style clasps.

N227-squash-turq-27-5I’ve never had a necklace come undone. If you are worried you can squeeze the hook together which will make it more secure but also a little harder to hook.  Once on, I have found hook and eye closures to be quite secure.


You could purchase a necklace extender with a lobster claw clasp. We offer both kinds but the hook and eye extenders sell 8:1 to the lobster claw clasps. It is a matter of tradition and personal preference.




Squash Blossom Necklace with Hearts

Hi Paula,

I have a squash blossom necklace made with hearts. I have searched your blog and the internet and have not found this shape. Can you help me determine if this is in fact a rare-type shape? Also, can you help me determine the type of turquoise? And, my clasp is broken, do regular jewelers repair the clasps, and the way they repair, does it make a difference or lessen the value? Like soldering vs. wiring vs.gluing?

Thank you,
20140709_143636 20140709_143651Hi Catherine,
I would interpret the design element as clouds rather than hearts.
Possibly this could be King’s Manassa turquoise but it is hard to say for certain.
As far as repairs, I would recommend that you have any repairs done by an experienced, knowledgeable jeweler that as worked on vintage Native American jewelry so that the repair would be consistent with the original piece.
We don’t do repairs here but we recommend this business for Native American jewelry repairs. They do all of the repairs for our store and we are thoroughly satisfied with their work.
Repair Contact:
Diane Radeke
P. O. Box 55935
Phoenix, AZ  85078
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Vintage Navajo – Sterling Silver and Turquoise Squash Blossom Necklace

Chip Inlay Peyote Bird Necklace with TED hallmark

June 3, 2014
Hi Paula,
I recently inherited a squash blossom necklace that has turquoise and coral chips inlaid in peyote birds. There is one large bird at the bottom and five that go up each side of the necklace.

My question is in regards to the hallmark. The piece is stamped twice. Once with the name/initials “TED” in a vertical position so that the T is closest to the floor. The other mark is much fainter and says “TED” horizontally over a tomahawk. Have you ever come across this hallmark, and if so can you tell me anything about the artist?

Thanks for your time,


Hi Walter,
I wish I could help but I do not know this hallmark, nor do I see it in any of my references. Perhaps another reader has seen it.
Great necklace !
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Petite Squash Blossom Necklace – have you ever seen one?

Hi Paula,

I have a petite squash blossom that I’ve never seen another like it. Measures 12 1/4″ end to end, the naja is 1/2 x 1/2″. How you ever seen one this small? Maker?




Hi Pamela,

I’ve never seen one quite like yours but I’d guess either:

Navajo made OR

Native American style, shop made such as Bell Trading type piece OR

imported (not NA made)

Here is a small Navajo made squash blossom necklace – it is 16 inches long and made with 3 mm beads.


Miniature Squash Blossom Necklace by Larry Curley

You can see how small it is by the dime in the photo – similar scale to yours I’d think.


Here is a small Zuni needlepoint squash blossom necklace that is 18″ long and the Naja is 1 1/2″ x 1 1/4″


Miniature Zuni Needlepoint Squash Blossom Necklace by Lorena Peina


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Squash Blossom Jewelry Questions

Hi Paula,
I am hoping you can help me out. I have two squash blossom necklaces. One is from my mother (late) and is a cool mother of pearl that I remember she told me that she purchased in the 70’s. The other, in blue turquoise, I acquired at a resale shop about ten years ago. I have decided to finally pull them out and start wearing them and would love to know more about them. I can’t find a stamp on either one of them. I don’t see an artist and I don’t see a silver marking either. I have taken a few pictures and would love to hear your opinion. Also, is it fashionable to polish or not polish these necklaces. Also, does it affect the value if I chose to have them lengthened or shortened? Thank so much in advance.
Squash blossom 001Squash blossom 005Hello Colleen,
Without a hallmark, about the only thing I can say about your two lovely squash blossom necklaces is that they are vintage Navajo.
As to their silver content, that is something you can test with an acid test kit or have them tested at a pawn shop.
As far as polishing, that is a matter of personal taste. You could leave as is, clean or polish with a cloth, or completely restore as you see fit. Here is more information about cleaning jewelry.
In terms of adjusting the length, yes it would likely affect the value. For a collector, leaving a squash blossom necklace the traditional length would be best. But for “using’, depending on who did the alteration and how they did it, a shortening might increase its “value” because then it would be wearable art!
Watch for my next post which will show a squash blossom necklace that I had shortened so that I could wear it more as a “choker” than a long necklace.
To view our full list of article or to ask a jewelry question, follow the instructions here you are selling your jewelry, read this our pawn shop for your research and shopping


Real Bear Claw Necklace – can you tell me anything about it?

Hello Paula. I have a Bear Claw Squash Blossom necklace. I got it at an estate auction in 1989, in Bowman ND. It is missing one claw. They are real claws,  it is made of silver. It say “Craig” on the back. Is there anything more you may be able to tell me about it? Rob

1025130554a 1205131756 1205131756aRob,

Without seeing the hallmark, I can’t say for sure. There are several Navajo silversmiths in the Craig family.

If you would like to send a clear photo of the hallmark, that would help.

What is that hanging down between the two claws of the drop? Can’t quite get a fix on it. I’m thinking it might be a piece of Mother of Pearl (MOP) to coordinate with what appears to be MOP set above the turquoise on the two sidepieces.

The assembly of this necklace is not typical. The curved reinforcements are unusual.

I wouldn’t call this a squash blossom necklace. Although it is true, it is strung on double silver beads typical of squash blossom necklaces, that is about where the similarity ends.

Below is a traditional squash blossom necklace complete with squash blossoms.

N201-squash-turq-nugget-1And this next one is a bear claw squash blossom necklace.N150-SD-bearclaw-turq-coral-2 I look forward to receiving the photo of the hallmark.  Paula

To view our full list of article or to ask a jewelry question, follow the instructions here

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What is this green necklace worth?

Hi Paula,
I recently inherited a necklace that my grandparents bought in the early 1970’s. It has at least 40 years of patina built up on it and a maker’s mark on the back that I think is “HL”. I took it to a jeweler and she told me that is was indeed entirely made of sterling silver, handmade and that the turquoise was real. It has spent that better part of the last 20 years in a safe deposit box and, if I keep it, it will stay there until I die. It is something I will never wear and have no strong sentimental ties to it. I cannot find anyone that can tell me who made it, how much it might be worth and how I can sell it for its true value. Can you help me?
Here are two photos of my necklace. The only marks I can find on it is what appears to be a cursive “HL” etched on the back. There is at least 40 years of patina built on, possibly more. My grandpa bought it for my step-grandma in the early 70’s and my mom said she doesn’t think it was ever worn by her, but I do see some signs of wear, edges that are worn smooth, so it may be much older. I really don’t know anything about it and everyone who would is long dead.

Is there anything you can tell me about this, who made it, or anything that might make it particularly special or rare?

Thank you,

necklace1 necklace2 hallmark necklace2Hi Deby,

First of all, what you have here is a Squash Blossom Necklace. To learn about its symbolism

Navajo Squash Blossom Necklace – What is its history and meaning?

Back in the 1970’s there was a “Native American jewelry boom” !!! You can search 1970 in the search tool on this blog and you will find several articles related to 1970s jewelry including this one

The 1970s Native American Jewelry Boom

So because of that, there was a lot of Native American jewelry made at that time, some very nice and some kind of quick to feed the demand.

A good way to find out what your necklace is worth is to show it, in person to someone who deals specifically in vintage Native American jewelry. Another way is to use eBay to establish value. I outline a specific procedure you can follow to determine value in these articles:

Paula – What is my Squash Blossom Necklace Worth?

How to determine the value of your item using eBay SOLD feature

As far as your necklace, it is fairly typical of the time. Although you only sent one photo of the front of the necklace, I can see that the stones are a very nice green turquoise, except for perhaps the one in the upper position which appears quite blue. That could be how it was originally made or it that stone could have been replaced at some point. Most of the squash blossom ends do show damage but they can be repaired by a Native American jeweler.

I couldn’t make out the inscribed hallmark well enough to verify and there have been a number of Navajo artists with the initials HL over the years.

Enjoy your treasure !



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.

Why are there so few Squash Blossom Necklaces made with Black Onyx?

Hi Paula,

I have a Squash Blossom necklace made with black onyx, and wonder first of all if it is authentic, and the hallmark looks like a ‘S’ while researching I found a necklace on ebay that looks exactly like mine, but the hallmark is H or N. Also I was wondering why there are so few necklaces made with black onyx. Thank you so much for your help in advance.
I really appreciate this and am also excited. I just learned from my friends this weekend that squash blossom necklaces find the person, and you will never believe where i did find this beauty. So I do believe they find you. Is this true, are you aware of it? I am just learning about this.
1875 Hallmark IMG_1869 IMG_1870 IMG_1874 IMG_1878Hi Julie,
Your necklace does has characteristics that are consistent with being a contemporary Navajo made squash blossom necklace. I think it is elegant ! I have always liked black onyx. The beads are bench beads which is to be expected. The bezels are smooth and tidy.
As far as it being authentic, the only way to positively authenticate an item is to either know the hallmark for sure, buy the item directly from the person who made it or have some documentation that shows where the item was purchased and when. A few artists provide a Certificate of Authenticity with their items. With all that said, your necklace gives the appearance in photos of being Native American made and my gut feeling is that it is.  But…….
When you say you have seen identical ones on eBay but with different individual initials for hallmarks, it makes me wonder a couple of things. If these necklaces are being made in a Native American shop by a number of different NA artists. Or if these necklaces are being made outside of the US – the easiest hallmark to fake is a gothic single capital letter and since there are so many artists in can be attributed to, there is not such a risk of being caught.
I honestly can’t see the hallmark well enough to see what it is. If you would like to send another photo that is in focus, that would be great.  If you don’t have a close-up feature on your camera, just take a normal photo of the entire back of the naja (like you did of the front) and send it and I can zoom in on it.
If it is indeed an S, there are several dozen Native American artists who have used that initial over the years so it would be a wild guess.
As far as onyx in a squash blossom necklace being rare? Well turquoise is the most traditional and popular stone used in squash blossom necklaces. We do see the occasional Mother of Pearl, onyx, lapis and various inlay squash blossom necklaces, but probably 90% of them are made with turquoise. Why? Because when stones began to be incorporated into Native American jewelry, turquoise was a beautiful local stone so was readily available and a natural choice  – thus became the tradition.
Although black onyx is mined in the US, it is not mined in Arizona or New Mexico where many of the Native American artists live(d). Contemporary artists use stones from all over the US, and the world for that matter, so onyx would be a more modern choice.
As far as a squash blossom necklace choosing you, I have not heard that before but perhaps a reader of this blog has.
The main thing is to enjoy your beautiful necklace ! Thanks for sharing.
Julie sent a closeup of the hallmark along with a note that is below this new photo.

back view 3 cropped

Hi Paula, Thank you for responding to my questions in detail regarding my necklace. I just want you to know I only did see one like mine.
I am sending you pictures of the back so you can make out the Hallmark, I hope they work for you, I did take them to publisher and cropped them, and messed around with the brightness on one picture in case it helps you. I am assuming the black stone is Onyx, as I do work with gemstones in my business. However, I have been reading that Jet is often used in this type of work, what do you think about that? Is there a test I can do to check if it is actually Jet?
Anyway, good luck, and I am very curious to hear back from you as to what you discover.
Again, I appreciate your help so much, and want to thank you.