December 2022 - Navajo Pearls

And the countdown begins! Are you ready for a fabulous Christmas this year? If you're still on the hunt for that special gift, your first stop should be the Pickle Barrel Trading Post! We've got everything you need to create a festive and happy holiday season.

This month, we take a close look at Navajo pearls. Read on and enjoy!



Navajo pearls originate from the Navajo Nation, the largest Native American tribe. Originally, Native Americans crafted beads from available resources within their area. Depending on the materials, the tribe would assign a value to each bead and use them for trade. Materials included wood, stone, animal bones or teeth, and shells. The beads were also used in storytelling, a tradition which was passed down through generations. 

 

When the Europeans arrived, they brought a host of new elements with them including copper, silver, and glass. The Native American tribes quickly took to these new elements and utilized many of them in their silversmithing. The famous Navajo pearl, made from sterling silver, is just one of those unique items created by the Navajo today.

 

The creation of the Navajo Pearl is a lengthy process as each individual bead is made by hand, although some machine made pearls can also be found (these are easily distinguishable by the type of clasp used). Each bead consists of silver that is melted, rolled, and cut. Next, the holes are punched, rounded, then each bead is sanded and polished. There are several different types of beads available, including round, melon, hogan, and fluted shapes. Most pearls are strung with a woven silver cord called foxtail cord, which can be sterling silver, nickel, or another metal. 

 

If you are looking for a unique piece of jewelry that you can wear for years, consider the beautiful Navajo pearl.

 

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