Significance of Turquoise in Navajo Culture

Natives and aboriginals around the world have always held turquoise in high regard mostly for spiritual reasons. The ancient Egyptians buried their pharaohs with turquoise encrusted jewelry, while the Persians considered the stone to be symbolic of victory and holiness. Traditionally, the Native Americans, including the Aztecs and Mayans, have associated turquoise with spiritual communication as well as good fortune and healing.

The significance of turquoise in the tribal culture has been conserved to a significant extent by their oral traditions as well as their fabrication of turquoise jewelry. One of the most well known turquoise jewelry makers are the Navajo people. They have very distinct styles and jewelry making ideas associated with them.

The Navajos believe that life began when the first man and women used a stone disk that was studded with turquoise to create the sun. Another legend says that when it rained after a long period of drought, everybody danced, rejoiced and cried tears of joy. Their tears mixed with the rain and seeped into Mother Earth to become turquoise. The stone is a part of many ceremonies and spiritual practices of the Navajo people. One of them involves throwing the stone into water or air, which helps them connect to god of rain, Neinilii, or the Wind Spirits.

An important figure in Navajo culture, the mythical Changing Woman, or Turquoise Woman, known as Estsanatlehi, and many aspects of her story are also associated with turquoise. According to a version of the Creation story, she had first appeared to the people as a drop of turquoise, while according to another version, as a turquoise female figure.

Like many other Native cultures around the world, the Navajos also associated the blue and green colors of the stone with sky, water and earth. This is why the stone was an important tool used to attain close contact with these elements.

Traditional Navajo jewelry, such as bolo ties, makes use of turquoise more than any other stone or metal. As you will see with some Native American bolo ties, there is a use of large stones and the focus is on the natural quality of the stone. You can find such Native American bolo ties for sale on our online store.