Traditional & Contemporary Southwestern Jewelry

Jul 6, 2018 -- Posted by : TV8


Maddie Evans, TV8 Host: Be prepared to be absolutely mesmerized by the color turquoise. I'm with John Cogswell from Squash Blossom and he’s brought incredible works of art this morning.

John Cogswell, Squash Blossom: Well thank you for having us, it's the first day of our 45th year of business, so it's a wonderful anniversary to have. We opened our store in Colorado Springs in 1973 with the finest American Indian jewelry that we could come by. We traveled all over the Southwest and got to know a lot of the artists directly. We’ve had a sister store here in Vail for the same length of time, so we want to invite everybody to come in and see all the new goodies we have for this season.


The pieces here depict a more traditional antique Navajo squash blossom and some bead works. We have a ceremonial pouch with just incredible detail that the Navajos would wear at the ceremonies or at the judging events at Indian markets or a gallup ceremonial.

Host: The most incredible part about all of this is that it is handcrafted.

Cogswell: It is handcrafted. The artists pick the stones and then a lot of them make their own tools to stamp into the silver. They were taught by the Spanish, who had brought both saddle makers and silversmiths to teach people. So most of the tooling came from saddle makers and then they translated the art into jewelry making in the late 1800s.

Host: It’s like an act of love how much time and energy they are putting in to all of the fine details. I'm wearing one of these bracelets and this one is absolutely gorgeous.

Cogswell: Yes, this group of artists call themselves the bone cutters and they're all Navajo. They’re very traditional stones, more of the design work that was done in the 1930s and 40s, so that's having a revival right now.

This squash blossom necklace has butterflies in it and its tied with a leather back, so its wampum and its probably a 1940s or 50s piece, so we do buy collections back that we've sold through the years.


Cogswell: We have a lot of contemporary pieces as well. Through the years we've decided to evolve into other handmade jewelry from around the country and so if you take a leap from what we did 45 years ago, and still do because it's time-tested, is we're now working with this particular designer, his name is Peter Smith from Konstanz, Germany. He’s got a workshop there, where he teaches a lot of young gold and silversmiths.

This piece is a silver bracelet that he's done a wash of 24 karat gold on top and then set bezels with rubies in it and it's real flexible, handmade and one of a kind.

This necklace is a set of pearls that he does with an interchangeable clasp so you can use the clasp with just a chain and make it shorter or you can use it with the pearls only.  Or you can buy other pearls to use the same clasp as a decorative piece. Peter’s work has won a lot of awards this last year. Amazing craftsmanship just like the traditional American Indians. We want to invite people to come in and we'll try to teach them what we can about what we have and I think they’ll leave with a pleasant experience.

Two Locations in Colorado

Blog-Squash Blossom store.jpg

Host: John, thank you so much for coming in and absolutely taking my breath away with all of these fabulous pieces. If you're in the Vail Village, stop by the Squash Blossom and maybe you'll find something that you absolutely need to add to your wardrobe.


198 Gore Creek Drive
Vail, CO 81657

2531 W Colorado Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO 80904



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