Navajo Pearls: A Timeless Trend

Navajo Pearls are a Southwest icon. Each silver bead is handmade and oxidized, giving it a fashionable vintage look. Some Navajo Pearls are as small as a grain of rice, while others are quite large. Most beads are fashioned into either a spherical or saucer shape. Some Navajo Pearl necklaces have beads that are uniform in shape and size, while others mix it up for a stylish size gradient. Some pieces have beads that are stamped with attractive designs. Some showcase plain beads. Designers will usually finish the necklace with a hook clasp. As a matter of fact, that’s a good way to tell whether or not the Navajo Pearls are handmade. Machine-made Navajo Pearl-style necklaces will usually have a claw clasp. 

Navajo Pearls date back to the late 1500s, a time when Navajo (Diné) artists used the materials available to them. It’s unclear when the Navajo people began working with metal, but it is supposed that sterling silver was introduced to the Navajo Nation sometime in the mid-nineteenth century. This became an important part of their culture and trade, giving birth to many of the beautiful styles we know today. 

Navajo Pearl necklaces can be worn on their own, or layered to achieve the popular maximalist look. It’s fun to mix and match a variety of lengths, shapes, and sizes. The excitement doesn’t stop there! Navajo Pearls look great with other types of beads, too! Stack two or three Navajo Pearl necklaces with a stunning strand of turquoise or spiny oyster for a pleasing pop of color! Add a choker necklace to the mix to add some bohemian dynamics. 

Of course, layering isn’t the only way to style your Navajo Pearls. They’re also a great piece to pair with your favorite pendant. Navajo Pearls are often found adorning squash blossom necklaces, so naturally, the naja pendant matches perfectly. Pair with your favorite turquoise pendant for a timeless western look. 

Stop into the Pickle Barrel Trading Post to browse our selection of handmade Navajo Pearls and Western Beads! We carry pieces from some of the top Native American silversmiths. When you see our collection, you won’t be disappointed!