na001197Regular price $590.00 Save $-590.00
We LOVE this vintage Navajo handmade sterling silver tufa cast naja! It is set with three natural Morenci turquoise on the naja which reminds us of deer antlers. It is strung on sterling silver chain, and each bead was handmade. It ends in a handmade sterling silver hook and eye clasp. It has been lightly polished to keep the patina that comes with age. More about najas and tufa cast below.
This necklace came from a vintage collection of Native American jewelry we purchased, and our estimate is that this necklace was made in the 1940s or early1950s. It has been lightly polished.
Size: 22" L - Naja 3" H x 2.5" W - Top Turquoise .5" x .375"
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 Cast: 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 cracks, the tufa explodes when the metal is poured in and the process has to begin again.
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