This bold sterling silver bead necklace and drop earring set from master Navajo silversmith Virginia Tso is a timeless work of wearable art. Often called Navajo Pearls, this style of silver bead is an iconic jewelry silhouette beloved by Navajo silversmiths, and this set is remarkable for the quality of its craftsmanship. Both pieces are substantial in size and scale and have been crafted by hand by the artist. Very few artists still create this style of silver bead by hand, making this a rare and prized piece that will be valuable for generations to come. With its statement-making silhouette and satiny antiqued finish, this necklace and earring set create an elegant sophisticated statement and are a must-have for serious collectors of Native American jewelry
- Necklace and earring set handcrafted by Virginia Tso (Navajo)
- Sterling silver
- Hook and eye necklace closure
- Shepherd’s hook ear wires
- Necklace can be worn alone or with large-bail pendants
- Necklaces measures 24” long x 3/4” wide and earrings measure 2” x 1/2”
- Comes with a signed Certificate of Authenticity
Handcrafted works of Native American art require special care. For more information about proper care and cleaning, please read our Care Guide.
Virginia Tso is a master Navajo silversmith from Pinedale, Arizona. She has been making handmade silver beads for more than four decades.
Creating handmade silver beads, sometimes called “Navajo Pearls,” is a celebrated tradition among Navajo silversmiths and an icon of Navajo jewelry. The artist begins with two flat discs of silver then shapes them into domes using a dapping punch. The halves are soldered together and filed to form a beautiful silver bead. Usually formed from heavy gauge sterling silver, the beads may be smooth, stamped, fluted, slightly flattened or round and polished. Making these beads by hand is an extremely labor-intensive process but it creates one of the most beautiful and recognized necklace styles in the world.
Jewelry has been made and worn in the Southwest since prehistoric times. For thousands of years Native Southwestern people have made mosaic inlay and beads of turquoise, shell, bone or stone. Metal arrived with the Spanish. Native Americans acquired metal ornaments through trade, but it was not until the middle of the 19th century that Navajo and Zuni artisans learned the craft from Mexican blacksmiths and silversmiths. Their early silver jewelry creations were plain, with simple engraved, stamped or punched designs. Turquoise was first used in silver around 1880. By the turn of the century, silversmithing was widespread across the Southwest, and Native artists were making more sophisticated pieces like concho belts and squash blossom and naja necklaces. The Navajo soon became known for their use of silver, emphasizing silver-heavy designs with only a few gemstones, while the Zuni focused on stone work, featuring finely cut clusters of gems in complex patterns. The Hopi and Pueblo tribes also developed distinctive jewelry styles in the early 1900s. Today, silver jewelry is an iconic image of the Southwest.Read our Native American Jewelry Collector's Guide.
At Shumakolowa Native Arts, we guarantee that your purchase is an original and authentic work handcrafted by Native American artists as defined by the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990. We ask our artists to complete an extensive certification process, providing a CIB (Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood) card and other documentation of their Native American heritage. Our team of experts carefully inspects every product to guarantee it is handcrafted using traditional, sustainable processes and natural materials of only the highest quality. We record the place and date of each purchase and pride ourselves in paying a fair price that allows artists to make a living practicing their craft. Every work of handcrafted art comes with a Certificate of Authenticity signed by an artist or buyer. At a time when many commercially-made products are being sold as handcrafted Native American art, our in-depth purchase process allows us to guarantee the authenticity of every unique piece of fine art we offer. For more than 35 years, we have made it a priority to visit artists in their studio or home to purchase their latest handcrafted pieces and learn about their work. We have developed lasting relationships with artists, as well as dealers and collectors, and we take pride in being a trusted destination for fine Native American art.