Turquoise Inlay Navajo Pearls

I’ve updated (May 2, 2016) this popular article with better photos and specs.

I received a beautiful set of vintage sterling silver and turquoise Navajo Pearls a number of years ago.  They are:

Sterling silver with turquoise inlay

176 grams

25″ long

Bead are graduated from 12 mm to 22 mm.

This is the first necklace like this I had seen so I asked some friends who have been in the NA jewelry business their whole lives about the necklace and thought I’d share what they said.





They are inscribed with “MW” on a hallmark disk.



I was told the beads were made by in the mid 1970s by Navajo silversmith Martha Wilson and the inlay was done by a Zuni artist, Rosemary White.  Martha Wilson worked out of the Bluewater Lake area.    I have been unable to locate a Zuni artist by the name of Rosemary White but there are several Navajo artists in the White family. Paula




43 thoughts on “Turquoise Inlay Navajo Pearls

  1. I sold some just like those with coral back in the 1980’s. I don’t recall who made them, but I wish I’d kept them for myself!

    • Hi Monte, Nice present !! Do you know the place, the artist who made them? If you don’t want to post your answers, you can write me personally this way………..
      Go to http://www.horsekeeping.com – click on the bear at the computer, then the link E-mail, phone, mail. Send me an email from there. If I post my email address here, it will be scooped up by spammers, so I can’t post it !! I’ll watch for your email. Paula

  2. I just purchased some almost the exact copy. From an estate jewelry dealer. Would like to share any information on them. How about a value? any ideas? Joy

      • I have looked them over carefully but no marks. My pattern is a little different from the one above. I’m crazy about them but would sell to get something else I want. I just couldn’t let the jewelry store melt them down. they also buy gold and silver just for the weight and melt it down. They had three pieces from the individual who brought them in to the store. One was already gone the other is a very old squash blossom. Almost looks arts and crafty. Turquoise pieces of different colors. But still a very old piece.
        Are theses necklaces still available? not sure from your reply. Joy

      • No I still have it. Still trying to find something like it to get a possible value. Yes I probably would be willing to sell. Joy

      • Do you have a picture of your necklace and an idea of the price you would like to get for the item.

  3. I have earrings with these same inlaid beads.I knew nothing about them ’til I came to this site.I had assumed they were zuni due to the flush inlay.Thanks for the education.

  4. I just found these beads (similar to those in the post) on ebay and the seller states the previous owner purchased them directly from the artist: Duane Maktima of Laguna Pueblo.Starting price is just under 2,000

  5. This is exciting. Im glad to see any information on these. I still have my set and would love to purchase earrings to match. Joy

  6. I saw a pair on etsy for $8500. Not all beads were inlaid however. Just a few in the very front. They look so beautiful. Still looking for a sleeper somewhere. CS

    • I have a set with 13 inlaid Navajo pearls. They are inlaid with turquoise. I resently took they with me to new mexico and tried to get info on them in many places. They ate beautiful and apparently no one is doing this work these days. I did find one person who knew something about them. The curator at the Millican Rogers Museum. She has a set and they are the only others ones she had seen. But she believes hers to be newer than my set.

    • I just looked at the ones on etsy. They are not like mine because the inlay is not flush and smooth. These look to be something new or copied. Joy

      • there is a set on etsy now for $811. dollars. They are in the Netherlands, however. But they are the good ones. Joy

  7. I have been looking for a Navajo Pearl necklace with inlaid turquoise. I have not seen them in years and want one so badly. Any leads would be appreciated.

  8. I still have my set. 2015 I took they with me to the Milicient Rogers Museum in Taos. They looked at them and were very impressed. They gave me an estimate on them. I may be willing to sell but only at full price. I’m always finding new things and loved changing up what I have in my personal collection. It isn’t big but have some wonderful items. Joy B

      • This site is confusing. My apologies.. I think I was referring to an old post thinking it was new. Anyway, if you ever want to sell these let me know. I’ve been looking for these for years.. my family is from New Mexico and I recall a few ladies back in the day wearing these inlaid beeds and I cannot find them anywhere. Hoping to own a strand one day!!

        Thank you!

      • $1500 to $2000. And I also wore them while shopping in Old Town Albuquerque and had several store owners comment on them and tell me not to sell. They also gave me their opinions as to the same price as the museum.

      • That’s about what I figured or maybe higher depending on the size and weight and length of your beads. Those are my beads that are shown in the photo for this article and I agree, don’t sell. I really haven’t seen any contemporary ones although Fern Yung mentioned some above in the comments. Paula

  9. I have a necklace almost exactly like this that I was going to put up on eBay I was wondering if you could give me any advice as to how much I should Asfoor I thought maybe I should do it as an accent and I didn’t want to make the price too low in it self for too long do you think 1500 is fair to start

  10. I have emailed Paula privately, but since others will look at this post, I thought this the best place to ask if anyone knows if Martha Wilson is still alive and if so, does she still make jewelry? Just would love to know more about the artist! My piece, which is identical in every way is so amazing!

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