For the Dine' people (Navajo) who live on the high desert and mountain Colorado Plateau (5,000-8,000 ft) in the Four Corner's area of the American Southwest turquoise is a very symbolically important gem.
For the Navajo there are four sacred mountains that mark the boundaries of Dine bikeyah (Navajo lands) and two center ones. Each mountain and cardinal direction with it, has a color associated with it. Each mountain has a sacred gem, a gender. a time of day, season of the year, period of life and philisophical meaning asscociated with it. The mountains are always listed in order sunwise: east, south, west and north. On traditional Navajo maps of the world east is on the top. East is white, south is blue, west is yellow and north is black.
This picture is Taylor Mountain - the Southern Mountain Tsoodzil, or Dootl’izhiidziil - known as the Blue Bead or Turquoise Mountain.
Turquoise is the gem for the southern mountain. It is also the symbol of midday, adulthood, and summer.
The word Dootł’izh (turquoise) can be a general term for wealth and well being. It is also the name for colors in the blue and green range. Navajo is one of the many cultures like Japanese that puts blue and green together. When the stones are in the blue range they are said to be male and in the green range is female.
If you wear white shell, turquoise, abalone and jet it symbolizes the complete harmony of the Navajo universe. It creates Hozho inside and out. Hozho is one of the central concepts in Navajo thought. It means the combined concepts of beauty, health, goodness, balance, harmony.
Silver is not seen as sacred but once introduced by the Spanish it was adopted by many tribes in Jewellery making. The Navajo were, and still are, the tribe with the greatest number of silversmiths, not just because they were first but also because they’re the largest.
In terms of silver jewellery, the primary ones are still the Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni each with their own skillful applications and designs.
Nizhoni wishes to thankyou for looking - May you walk in Peace