Silver Price Affects Production of Native American Sterling Silver Bracelets

Many of you have written the last several months, hoping to find those nice heavy sterling silver Navajo bracelets for yourselves and for those on your Christmas list.

So this article is a further answer to all of you – and those of you searching for bracelets such as these.

Classic Navajo Sterling Silver Twist Bracelet by the Tahe Family

Twist bracelets such as the one above weigh in at 65-105 grams depending on the size and thickness.

Because of the high and rising price of silver, these bracelets simply are not being made. The bracelets we have listed on our Sterling Silver Twist Bracelet page might be the last ones we are able to get for quite a while.

Here’s another example. We purchased this 74 gram bracelet in 2008 when silver was $14.99 an ounce. It’s retail price at the time of our purchase was $225. We sold it today for that price and yet today silver is trading at $30 an ounce.  If we could get this bracelet from the artist today, it would likely cost $400 or more.

Sterling Silver Bear Storyteller Bracelet by Richard Singer, Navajo

Horsekeeping has a policy of not raising prices when silver goes up. We keep the prices as they were when we purchased the items. However, the next time we purchase sterling silver items (probably May 2011) such as Sterling Silver Bracelets, Sterling Silver Beads AKA Navajo Pearls and so on, the prices will likely be much higher or the items will not even be available.

To read more about silver prices, here is my post from October 2010

How the Silver Price Affects the Cost and Availability of Native American Jewelry

Sterling Silver Navajo Pearls by Larry Pinto, Navajo

Enjoy browsing through our inventory at “old silver prices” !!!


Choosing Sterling Silver Navajo Pearls

Hi Paula:
I just ordered my first necklace of Navajo Pearls,  I read everything you wrote “very” carefully. I feel that I chose well for my needs.   I am “very” small, and also (EEKKK) allergic to Sterling Silver touching my neck!   I had to have a longer set to go under a collared shirt.   I can wear SS bracelets and rings with no problem at all, but necklaces and earrings break me out in blisters nearly instantly.   I think these being smaller beads, will go with my size, and at a 20″ length, will go well under my collar.  I did fall in love with them and the fact that they are smooth seed beads and so beautiful in the pictures.  I seriously considered the 12 mm necklace that was the only one you had, but decided 12 mm was a bit large for me.
I really appreciate all the wonderful information, and am sure that once I have these, I will be back for more, and may even get “adventurous” and buy larger beads, graduated or stamped ones!   I did get all one size since I wanted to hang my pendants on these, which as you said, and is really common sense, a pendant will not hang correctly when the center bead is much larger, and that is right where said pendant should hang.  Thank you again for your kindness.

8 mm Sterling Silver Seed Beads by Lily Yazzie, Navajo

Good afternoon Elizabeth.
You’re smart starting with one you can wear over the shirt, under the collar and for pendants. Truth be told, that is one of my necklaces I wear quite a bit as I tend to wear more heishi in the summer (open collar and on my skin) and sterling beads in the fall and winter over clothing with pendants. (I also love wearing stamped graduated beads peeking out from under a collar too – kind of an understatement !)
I polished yours up extra special and included a polishing cloth so you can keep them shiny !
Let me know when you are ready to look for more if I can be of any help with answers or suggestions.

All my best and thank you very very very much for reading the information !!! I love my work and put my heart and soul into my articles and when someone finds the information useful, it makes me very happy.

Talk soon Elizabeth,

Sterling Silver Polishing Cloth

Hi Paula:
I am happy to know that you agreed with my choice, and why!  Thank you so much for polishing them up for me, and for including a polishing cloth for me to keep them shiny.  I really appreciate that special touch!   I will watch the mailbox every day for these to come, and will certainly be happy and very grateful to ask for your help in choosing my next necklace!  Thank you again.

Hi Paula:
I just received my first strand of Navajo pearls from you today, and could not be happier!!!  They are absolutely lovely, and thanks to your very informative blogs on choosing these, I chose perfectly!!   They are the right size, and also go under my collar with plenty of room left to hang a pendant on if I want to.  I am very happy with these lovely beads, and will be back for more when I “save up!!”   I am even wearing them next to my skin right now and have been for a couple of hours, and have not broken out in blisters yet!!   I have never been able to wear SS necklaces of any kind that even “touch” my skin.   So far, so good, and I will be thrilled if it turns out I am not allergic to these, although I have no idea why??   At least I did buy them long enough to still wear under a collared shirt if I do eventually break out!
Thank you for your kindness and help, and especially for keeping us informed so well that we can make the right choices!!!   I am very happy I read your detailed info so well, and that you are concerned enough to keep your customers in the loop on what they are buying.  I really appreciate that.

Stamped Graduated Navajo Peals by Betty Lee

Hi Elizabeth,
Soooooo glad to hear that !
You know Elizabeth. Maybe you are not allergic to sterling silver but to the tarnish that starts to form on it……….as you see, the beads we sent were really dazzling clean. Maybe if you keep them shiny, you will be OK!!
With my beads, I sometimes don’t even notice that they are no longer shiny as it happens so gradually but when I buff them with a cloth I am amazed at the silver sulfate that comes off !!
So that’s my theory as to why these beads are kind to your skin – they were freshly polished !
Let me know OK?
Look forward to seeing you again sometime. Enjoy !

Example of Vintage 50 Strand Liquid Silver Necklace with Gorgeous Patina

I will certainly read that article, and will also keep these new beads shiny as they are now!!   I have had other SS necklaces that were brand new, from a “very” expensive jewelry store in Knoxville, that were shiny and still broke me out!   But we will see if these are somehow different.   I did buy one pair of SS earrings on that home shopping show, QVC one time, and they are the “only” pair of SS earrings I have been able to wear.   I am wondering if some SS has some other combo of the normal metals used, in different proportions or something, and that might be the difference.   It is a real mystery as to why SS rings and bracelets do not bother me at all, ever.    I have a “Tommy Singer” all SS bracelet that I “never” take off.   I have been wearing it for years, washing dishes and showering it it too.
I will read the info you sent me very carefully, as I certainly do want to keep these beads shiny.  I do own an Oscar Alexius pendant which is “not shiny” on purpose, as he makes most of his jewelry with that “old pawn” look finish.  I have never worn it next to my skin though, so do not know if it would break me out or not.  This is the first time I have taken a chance and tried a SS necklace next to my skin in years, as the last time I did, I wore a ring of brilliant red blisters, which then turned into sores, for nearly the month it took to clear up!   I can usually tell nearly instantly, but still have your beads on, and am not even itching.   I will let you know what happens.  I certainly would love to clear up that mystery, and be able to wear both necklaces and earrings.   I just wonder what was either “not in” or “in” that one pair of SS earrings I can wear that makes them different from all others?

Hi Libby,
Well, it sure could be the “other” metals because it really varies depending on where the sterling silver is made, what is added to the silver.
As I write in Not All Silver is Equal, you’ll see that the other 7.5% is usually copper but can be any metal.
Hmmmmmmm………sounds like a good mystery for you to solve.
So glad you are enjoying the pearls !


Navajo Pearls – Desert Pearl Necklace – Faux Available?

Hi Paula,

I would like a faux desert pearl necklace with big beads because I am big.  Do Native Americans ever make good quality fake jewelry?  I would rather buy it from them. Linda

Hi Linda,

Thanks for the mention of another name for Navajo sterling silver beads – AKA Navajo Pearls and Desert Pearls.

As far as faux…do you mean not made out of sterling silver?  If that is what you mean by fake, no, I’ve never seen any Navajo beads made out of other metals or even beads that are sterling silver plated. All beads that I have seen are made from sterling silver. Considering the time it takes to hand make each bead, I couldn’t imagine making them out of anything but sterling silver.

Read All About Silver here.

Read All About Navajo Pearls here.

As far as bead size, one of the largest and heaviest Navajo Pearls we’ve had were these – a graduated set by Marie Yazzie but they sold quickly and are very hard to come by. They were 22 inches long, weighed 130 grams. The center bead was 21 mm graduating to 12 mm at the ends.

Large Heavy Desert Pearls

Currently we have two large bead Navajo Pearl necklaces in our store. One is in the new bead section and the other in the pawn shop.

Sterling Silver Navajo Pearls by Gloria Davis : 23" with 23mm bead at center graduating to 11 mm at the ends.

Navajo Pearls by Gloria Davis: 24" with 21 mm center bead graduating to 11 mm at the ends.

Best of luck finding the perfect Desert Pearl necklace ! Let me know if I can be of further help.