Coral Navajo Pearl Single Strand Necklace
Coral Navajo Pearl Single Strand Necklace handmade by Marie Yazzie. This elegant necklace features 4 stamped sterling silver beads with coral inlay surrounded by polished silver stamped beads. The necklace is 20″ inches long.
Marie makes stamped and unstamped silver necklaces of varying length. Her beads are created by hand through a time-consuming, exacting process.
To begin, she stamps designs on blank silver disks by hammering metal punches (or dies) onto the surfaces. Most designs require a number of different small, detailed stamps to create the overall image. The stamped disks are then domed by punching them with a cone punch into a concave wooden block. Marie’s process is quite different from the embossing technique, where an entire pre-formed design is stamped with one punch at the same time the disk is domed.
Each bead is hand filed after doming, to smooth edges and fit evenly with the other beads. If the necklace is to have beads of graduated size, the beads are domed in a set of graduated concave forms or in a dapping block, a multiple cavity steel block. Using hand tools, a hole is punched in the center of each bead. To create the bead, two halves are soldered together using narrow strips of silver solder and flux. Soldered edges are then filed smooth and the beads are polished.
Besides necklaces, which may contain as many as 120 individual hand forged beads, Marie also makes stamped earrings. Her earrings are made of one half of the necklace bead, domed on one side and flat on the other.
Authentic Navajo Pearls are sterling silver beads made entirely by hand by Native American silversmiths. Handmade Navajo Pearls are hand-crafted by using heavy gauge sterling silver from which they cut, stamp, drill, solder, file, polish, and string. Handmade beads are very labor intensive, therefore much more expensive than bench made beads. Because each bead is made individually, there will be slight variations from bead to bead.
Sterling silver has always been a popular choice for jewelry because of the metal’s sparkling beauty and versatility. Since the dawn of civilization, men and women have been captivated by silver’s spell and splendor. Throughout the ages this mystical white metal has been used to mark historical milestones, celebrations, achievements and special occasions.
No one knows with certainty when the first silver gift was bestowed. But as early as 3,100 B.C., ambassadors from Crete were already bringing silver vases as gifts for Egyptian rulers. The metal’s popularity has even influenced our languages and customs. A silver spoon has symbolized great fortune and privilege since the 17th century when the Spanish writer Cervantes cleverly acknowledged that not everyone was born with one in his mouth. The tradition of the “silver anniversary” dates back to Germany where it was customary to present a silver wreath to a woman after 25 years of marriage.