Tufa Cast Double Naja Post Earrings
Tufa Cast Double Naja Post Earrings
Tufa Cast Double Naja Post Earrings
Tufa Cast Double Naja Post Earrings
Tufa Cast Double Naja Post Earrings

Tufa Cast Double Naja Post Earrings

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Navajo jeweler, Gary Custer, made these tufa cast, double naja post earrings which have a dragonfly design on top that extends down the center through the second, smaller naja.  Dragonflies are understood to offer protection and "watch the back" of the person they make contact with.  The earrings are textured by the tufa (more about tufa below) which gives them an organic feel.  There is a very small pit on the outside edge of one of the earrings that can be seen in the photos.  This happens sometimes with tufa cast jewelry. 

Size: 1.5" H x 1.125" W

Najas are a prominent symbol in Navajo jewelry and are always the center piece in squash blossom necklaces.  I was told they are a feminine symbol, and their crescent shape represents the arms of a matriarch and the generations of the past and future.  It symbolizes ease of movement, paths of least resistance for the family, even during challenging times.  There is a sense of open arms in the shape of the naja that is soothing.  Some najas have hands on each end.

Tufa Jewelry: Tufa is a volcanic stone which can be as dense as chalk which has an organic texture. The first thing a jeweler does is examine a piece of tufa for any tiny fractures.  If it looks good, the tufa is cut in half and, if there is a design, it is carved into the tufa.   There is a pour hole carved into the top and several narrow vents carved into each side.  The two pieces are then bound together tightly and molten silver or gold is poured through the hole at the top.  If there are any microscopic cracks, the tufa explodes when the metal is poured in and the process has to begin again.