Yard Sale Necklace – Is it Native American Made?

Hi Paula,

I bought this necklace at a yard sale recently and was wondering if you could share any information about it? Zuni? Navajo? Any idea of it’s value?

Thank you very much!!!
Janet in Montana

IMG_8346IMG_8358 IMG_8445Hi Janet,

Your lovely pearly necklace does not look like any Native American necklace I have ever seen.

Although the cone ends and the hook closure are typical of NA jewelry, for me that is where the similarity ends.

I can’t tell if the white beads are plastic, bone, shell or ??? – do you know?

I’d say NOT Native American made.


PS Russ Nobbs brings up an important point related to any jewelry and here necklaces. When distinguishing between Native American made and Native American strung…….usually when one says Native American made, it refers to the silver beads being hand made by a Native American silversmith such as the fluted bead which are handmade and signed by Virgina Tso.

BD827-set-fluted-antiqued-grad-22inch-tso-1On the other hand, Native American strung necklaces can be made of any beads but put together by a Native American person, and as Russ points out, those beads are often purchased from suppliers and can be of many materials and origins.

PPS Russ Nobbs used the word “hogan” beads for fluted and here are some manufactured hogan beads.

Top: 6 mm Silver plated plastic hogan beads $3 each (Thunderbird)503922 and below 10 mm sterling silver $1.95 each (Santa Fe). Go figure.210461

14 thoughts on “Yard Sale Necklace – Is it Native American Made?

  1. White breads look like MOP (mother of pearl) to me. It is similar to the sort of strung necklaces I see Navajo women selling along the road in AZ & NM. It could have been strung by anyone but they do like the plastic metalized hogan beads used next to the cones. I sell a lot of beads like these to Native folk when they pass through town on the Pow Wow trail.

  2. From the photo, it appears that the white beads are mother of pearl. Older MOP that has been well worn takes on a lovely matte finish with a slight sheen.

  3. Dear Paula,

    Thank you so much for answering my inquiry! I truly appreciate your time. I would say the beads are bone or shell, but definitely not plastic. They are milky in appearance and slightly iridescent. Anyway, gracias!!!

    All the best,

  4. Difficult to really tell, but it looks like mother of pearl, although the silver beads don’t look right with the seam running vertical rather than horizontal, and the fluted beads are kinda reminiscent of Thai beads. But like Paula said, the cones appear typical of NA jewelry. Still a fun necklace!

  5. Looks to me like it might be 1970’s-era mother-of-pearl bead western-style necklace? Around the time when “liquid silver” and little silver fetish necklaces were in fashion. Lots of mother-of-pearl shell stuff in “vogue” then. Not particularly expensive necklace, but then they weren’t that expensive in the 70’s either…$10 today, maybe? I saw a lot of this kind of jewelry for the tourist trade when I was stationed in the Army at Ft. Huachuca, AZ in the mid-70’s… (In the Tombstone, AZ tourist souvenir shops…) Hope this helps!

  6. I agree your necklace is not Native American. Is it sterling or above? And very hard to tell what your beads are perhaps a little more information
    Other than that it is still a very lovely necklace and worth having and wearing


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