Hello, We are new to this Turquoise forum, and hoping to get some insight into Squash Blossom Necklaces. Beyond personal preference, which is the “better” Squash Blossom Style: All Sliver, or With Turquoise Stones.
Although I’m appreciative of the artisan work in the small stones of what I believe are Zuni-Style, I prefer the larger- stone Squash Blossoms.
Also, if there is history / meaning to share, that would also be appreciated. We buy turquoise simply because we enjoy wearing it, not for resale. However, we try to buy handmade Native American Pieces. I’m sure I’ve been “snookered” in some earlier purchases, but enjoy learning with anything I buy. MANY Thanks!
Neither is “better.” One of the biggest factors which will determine value of a squash blossom is age. The oldest squash blossoms (1870s to 1920’s/30’s) will usually have no or minimal, judicious use of turquoise. Around the 30s, 40s you will start to see Zuni cluster style squashes with many small stones. The older versions of these are quite valuable as well, though not as much as first phase work. If you are looking at squashes mid century and on, you will start to see some by famous known makers, which will also increase value. A very old squash will be quite valuable regardless of the presence of turquoise, but if quality turquoise is present, and especially in mid century and newer squashes, the value of the turquoise will add to the total value of the squash.
I would personally say the “best squash” is a very old one, but another collector may prefer a modern squash by a very well known artist with lots of fantastic high grade turquoise, and they wouldn’t be wrong either.
uh,don’t neglect to mention quality & size.
There are stones and then there are stones. High-quality, natural stones in any size are better than middling or poor-quality ones. Big is not the relevant criterion, aside from personal taste. In addition, aesthetics and technical qualities matter in assessing squash blossom necklaces: design, good silverwork, handmade vs. storebought beads/findings/wire. It’s unlikely to find high-end stones in poorly made necklaces, but one is likely to find a great amount of indifferent stones especially once the glut hit the market, midcentury-1980s or so.
Early necklaces, as OrbitOrange notes, are minimal on turquoise and often there’s none, but they’re the best possible end of this category because of their handmade nature, their design, their scarcity, and market desirability. $$$
So much more to say. There are absolutely important and gorgeous Zuni necklaces, and same in Navajo, but stone size isn’t what makes or breaks the value.
Lots of great books and catalogues you can browse to learn more!
well,yeah…size does matter…
the much better quality(including being chain-strung)18in was nearly 50% less than the 23in.
& remember to factor in the seller!
My 2 cents worth: The good ones are going for serious $, so, research, buy from a reputable source, have it checked out by others, watch out for Asian Native Americans, and most of all, the best piece is the one you like the best.
Well, I used a shorthand saying “big” (speaking here of the turquoise stones, not the necklace overall itself) is not the main criterion to express that, in choosing among necklaces, the better stones are the better ones. Smaller Bisbee sets in a squash are going to be pricier and better than honking stabilized Kingman. Y’know.
I will add that there are astounding SB necklaces being made today, in solid sterling, too. And worth the price.
If anyone has an all silver squash I’d love to see, please post
I have one. It was made by Leon Curley and is a good substantial weight of 134g. It is 25” plus a Naja roughly 2.25” x 2”. I’ll add a couple pictures. Just let me know if you want more info.
@Islandmomma That’s beautiful. An elegance with no need for stones.
Yes, sometimes simplicity is good. I also have a strand of square handmade beads by him that are available.
I can’t wear 8 squash blossom necklaces and uncounted other necklaces.
Not my necklace, but you might also consider all silver with one stone. Something like this beauty from 1910…
That’s sweet! I love my corrugated beads. Mine is circa 60’s with a center turquoise.
Really nice looking squash. Sometimes that little bit of turquoise adds pop.
So pretty, would love one like that for my collection.
Here’s my only all silver “squash” it’s unmarked as far as hallmark but the previous owners last name and social is etched on back
@TaraFawn75 Wow, that’s a striking SB necklace! I’ve never seen one like that before. Are the stars & naja sandcast? Age?
Yes they are. It lays beautifully when on!
I’m unsure of age. The woman I purchased it from said it belonged to her Mother & she believed her Mother acquired it in the mid 50’s. If anyone has opinion on age I’d love to hear it!
@TaraFawn75 I can believe the 1950s ~ your SB has an “Atomic Starburst” design look to me. Atomic designs were a very popular Mid-Centutry motif. (Though, not saying that’s definitely what your SB is.)
This is exactly what I meant when I said “minimal, judicious use of turquoise.” Fantastic squash.