This past weekend we left the ranch and headed “home” to Fort Worth. Taylor got his degree in Ranch Management from TCU and the program was having their annual alumni roundup. This event is always held in January and conveniently coincides with the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo (FWSSR).
This year we got to take Margot to her first rodeo performance and she was quite enthralled with all the action and people watching. One thing you will notice when walking through the arena is that the FWSSR is not just about the horses and cowboys, but a showcase of fashion for the cowgirls as well. This is a social event where city folk get to bring out their best western inspired looks and dust of their hats once a year. The arena seats are a sea of turquoise, which had me wondering about where some of these classic jewelry designs that continue to be appreciated for generations originated.
For over 2,000 years, turquoise has been mined and used in jewelry in the southwest by Native Americans and is the official state gem of New Mexico. Each stone is unique and is categorized by the mine it comes from, with pieces coming from the mines that are now closed being rarer. Turquoise has been renowned for its healing properties in several cultures and jewelry featuring the stone is seen as an investment of wearable art. One of the most common and desirable designs seen in the southwest is the squash blossom made popular by the Navajo and Zuni tribes.
Far away from the American southwest, the crescent design was first introduced in Spain by the Moors during their reign. It often featured the blossoms of pomegranates which is the official symbol of Granada. The Spanish adorned their horses with this design and when they came to America looking for gold it was introduced to the Navajo who liked it and made it their own, replacing the pomegranate blossom with the squash blossom. The design was later adapted by the Zuni and Hopi tribes.
Craftsman from these tribes continue to create pieces in the style of their ancestors that are still sold today. They are worn all over the country as a celebration of Native American traditions and southwest culture.