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Thursday, November 29, 2007

OUR DAYS ON THE NAVAJO INDIAN RESERVATION ~

When our children were small, my hubby had a large construction job in Tuba City, Arizona, the Navajo Indian Reservation. He moved all of us out there for about 6 months and I had the time of my life. I had always liked Navajo rugs, pottery and especially the silver and turquoise jewelry. AND...to be able to buy it directly from the Indian makers themselves was such an experience....and VERY cost saving, as well. No middle man, ya know......:)

The above pic is of a silversmith working his jewelry.


This is but a fraction of the jewelry we have. Although turquoise is VERY popular now, the Indian turquoise and silver pieces aren't. It will come back around someday and when it does....I'm ready for it!

Silver and turquoise and shells called wampum......


These are called Squash Blossom necklaces. They are made out of all silver and turquoise stones and they are HEAVY. Uncomfortable to wear. I wore them, tho, back several years ago when all the stars in Hollywood were wearing them!!! Haha

We sat and watched for about 3 hours while an old Navajo silversmith finished this necklace. I was so scared I wasn't going to get it, I could hardly sit there!! :) See the little tips coming off each turquoise stone around the sides?...they are shaped like squash blossoms, hence the name.


A post card of an Indian lady, selling her wares......



The pottery, for some reason, was my least favorite of the Indian crafts. The Navajos weren't big on pottery making so I really didn't find too much. They did shine, tho, through their rugs and jewelry.

Since I didn't understand their language very well , I couldn't ask "Where would I find someone making rugs?" so I just drove around until I would see these wooley sheep. 9 out of 10 times, I would find a rug maker at that hogan (ho-gan...house, dwelling) and "work a deal" with them for a rug. My heart would get to beating so fast I could hardly breath...just looking at those beautiful, artful rugs made me sooo excited.


An old postcard of how the rugs were made......The actual Indians wouldn't let me take a picture of them....they believed that the camera would rob them of their soul. I respected that and always just left my camera at home. I understand that one reason these rugs have risen in value so much is that rug weaving is becoming a lost art in the Indian culture. It takes so long to weave a rug and I suppose the younger people would rather be doctors, lawyers instead of Indian Chiefs. :)

These beautiful Navajo rugs are such works of art and the rise in value has just gone sky-high. We had more than three at one time, but over the years, we've given some to family, keeping the three shown. I wouldn't put one on the floor and walk on it for love nor money. Too priceless to me. They are all wool and all natural ....no dyes. When you look closely at them, it is really hard to believe that they are every bit handmade. And, a fact that I just love.......
the Navajo weaver always leaves a Spirit Trail, coming out of the rug. They believe this keeps their spirit from being trapped inside the rug. Isn't that so romantic..I absolutely love it.

HAVE A GOOD DAY!

10 comments:

Karen H. said...

Good Morning BJ,
Oh my goodness. I have so loved going on this trip with you. It is very interesting. I love Indian Jewelry. I have a ring with the turquoise stones that my Mother bought a long time ago. I just love looking at the jewelry. My hubby has been thru the Navajo Indian Reservation before when he had his training. There was no cell phone reception there. He did tell me all about it and it sounded like it was a beautiful place. Well, take care my friend and have a great Thursday. May God Bless You and Yours.

Hugs,
Karen H.

Marcela said...

Hello Bj
Many thanks for sharing this story with us.
Beautiful jewelry.
I enjoyed visiting your blog and reading about the Navajo Indian reservation.
Kisses
Marcela

Nan said...

I bet that was a good experience living there. Love your jewelry.
Hootin' Annie has a Christmas meme. I just put my answers on my blog. Pop over if you get a chance. Wanna play too?
Nan

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful memory everytime you look at the jewelry and the other treasures !!!

Tammy B

Shari said...

Wow. That was a real interesting post, BJ. I love turquoise. I have a turquoise ring, but I don't know if it's authentic. It was a gift.

That was so cool to learn that they have a Spirit Trail in their tugs.

Thank you so much for sharing this. God bless.

ginger at enchanting cottage said...

WOW! BJ, what a great experience. What nice story to share with your grandchildren.
have a wonderful day
ginger

alice said...

bj, love the Indian stuff! If I had a home in Ariz. or N Mex., that would be my decor. We used to hunt arrowheads at our ranch and have lots of them in frames and in boxes. I would always imagine what it was like for the indians back then, and touching something from the long ago past like that was awesome to me. Suppose some day someone will dig up an old cell phone or something and wonder "what the heck?"
Have a great day!

Jackie said...

Beautiful jewelry. I have always had a soft spot for turquoise jewelry. You were so lucky to get to spend some time with the Navajo.

Hugs.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am doing some research for a friend. Can anyone tell me if the Navajo Indians used Turquoise stones laid out in patterns as part of worship rituals to the sun etc? Strange request I know, but my friend has read something somewhere and wants to find out if she has her facts right. She believes they perhaps placed turquoise in a diamond pattern within a circle, but doesn't know why.

If anyone can help me with this I would be very grateful. Kindest regards. Lorna - UK

bj said...

LORNA...I have no idea about the question you asked. Sorry! You can do what I do when I need an answer, tho. Just GOOGLE it and I am sure you will find a lot of information on the subject.
bj