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6-Strand Necklace

Arts of the Americas

In their creation story, the Navajo entered the upperworld—the earth—and found a vast expanse of water. With coral-tipped turquoise shovels they dug channels, draining the water and revealing the land. In fact, turquoise is the most frequently mentioned precious material in the accounts of their origins.

Turquoise is carved into beads and used as whole stones for personal adornment, powdered to make sand for sand paintings, and mixed with water to make paint. The blue color represents water, a precious resource in the southwestern desert. Turquoise is found in every aspect of Navajo peoples’ lives.
MEDIUM Coral, silver, turquoise, cloth
  • Place Made: United States
  • DATES ca. 1920s
    DIMENSIONS 15 1/2 in. (39.4 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Marjorie Ruth Wagner
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Necklace of coral and turquoise beads, several loops with one black pendent stone. Length is for necklace closed.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Navajo. 6-Strand Necklace, ca. 1920s. Coral, silver, turquoise, cloth, 15 1/2 in. (39.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Marjorie Ruth Wagner, 71.57.1. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 71.57.1_side_installation_PS5.jpg)
    IMAGE installation, 71.57.1_side_installation_PS5.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2014
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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