Beads have a long history among Native American culture. They have been used as trade goods, worn as adornment, and have even been used to tell stories. Tribes used shell, bone and stone to create these tiny pieces of culture, carving the stories into the material itself. Necklaces of such beads were passed down through the tribes so the stories continued with the next generation.
When the Spanish conquerors came to the American Southwest, they brought a different kind of story. Most of what they brought with them ended in pain and suffering for Native people. But there was one thing the Spanish added, silversmithing, which came to be an intricate part of the culture of such tribes as the Navajo. Taking the concept and making it their own has allowed the Navajo and other tribes to add to the ways in which they create beauty.
Beauty and beads combine in the creation of what are known as Navajo Pearls. Navajo Pearls are handmade beads of sterling silver. The way they are crafted means each bead is unique. Using mostly heavy gauge silver, the metal is melted, rolled out and cut into the desired length according to the design. After the holes are cut, they are sanded and polished before being used to create necklaces, earrings and other jewelry.
It is this careful, time-consuming process and the fact that no two of the beads are alike that makes Navajo Pearls so unique and so coveted. In this they are much like their namesakes. Their creation brings the ancient tradition of storytelling beads into the modern world. Their beauty brings an elegance to a piece of fine handcrafted jewelry that is hard to match.