Navajo Ghost Bead Necklaces made from Juniper Berries

junipers1.jpegWe’re camping this summer while our house is being built. That puts us very much in touch with nature AND we are sleeping in new surroundings. I’ve been wearing my ghost beads and hanging them over our bed. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh……….

Are they Juniper or Cedar Berries?

Juniper berries have long been a Navajo medicine for treating such things as diabetes. Juniper berries (seeds) are also used to make ghost bead necklaces. Juniper is a broad category of trees, some of which have common names that include “cedar”, such as “red cedar” that is widely used to make boxes and line drawers. This can be confusing because a true cedar tree comes from a different family of trees. So you will see ghost beads referred to being made from cedar seeds, juniper seeds or juniper/cedar seeds. If you want to be technically correct, they should be called juniper seeds or berries.


NGB-100-legend-600wGhostBeads-2NGB-101-single-berry-350w NGB-102-single-water-350w NGB-104-single-peppercorn-350wPaula

23 thoughts on “Navajo Ghost Bead Necklaces made from Juniper Berries

  1. Do the colors of the glass beads have a significance? I bought earrings in AZ that are
    White and clear with the ghost beads.
    Thank you for your assistance

  2. When I was visiting the south west last September, a gentleman at one of the National Park stores told me the legend of the ghost beads, adding that once the ant consumes the inside of the berry, the sprit or ghost of the living berry/seed remains inside. Hence the name. Is there any truth to that?

  3. I love your posts! They are informative and very helpful.
    I was looking at an item on eBay the other day and asked the seller how he/she knew if the turquoise was real, or some other substance that would be man made. How did they determine it, etc.
    The response I got was “I do this for a living”. I thought it was a rude response and it doesn’t answer the original question.
    This was a teachable moment and instead, this person has now been placed on my “do not buy from” list.
    Thank you for taking the time to teach!

  4. I am interested in seeking someone who could re-strung my Navajo beaded necklace. I an in Truth or Consequences, NM. Please help me locate someone. Thank you. MM

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