Navajo Pearls are traditionally made sterling silver beads. Silver beads are a traditional art form for Diné silversmiths, and the beads have as many expressions as there are artisans. Handmade sterling beads are often part of a Squash Blossom necklace, and are also made to be worn alone as a single strand necklace, layered or with pendants. Earrings & bracelets made of the gorgeous collectible beads are also available.
Making the beads is a time-consuming process. Each bead begins with silver that has to be melted, rolled and cut. Holes are punched, rounded, and then the beads are sanded and polished, all by hand. The heavy gauge silver used in these collectible beads gives these finished strands a nice weight and a substantial feeling. Machine-made beads will have a perfect uniformity that will help you distinguish between genuine handmade silver beads and fashion jewelry beads. Each one of the beads in a handmade strand will be unique if you examine it closely.
There are many styles of traditional beads. You will find beads with deep hand stamping, high silver polish, oxidation, embossing, and a variety of sizes and shapes including round, hogan, melon and fluted beads. Finished jewelry using Navajo Pearls is strung by hand, and often combined with turquoise, coral, sugilite, spiney oyster and other favored Southwestern stones.
The beads featured in this post were made by the Haley Family, who are Master bead makers. They use very traditional methods in making their beads, when they have completed a piece, the family burns sage and prays over each piece that whoever wears their jewelry will be blessed, have good health, and happiness. The Haley Family live and work in New Mexico.