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A beautiful and extremely well-crafted

“Navajo Pearls” silver bead necklace by Debbie Silversmith c. 1990’s

Debbie Silversmith (b. 1957) is an extremely talented contemporary Navajo silversmith with a most distinguished family lineage. Her Grandfather was the renowned “Father of Modern Navajo silver” Kenneth Begay (1913-1977), one of the greatest and most influential Navajo silversmiths in history who himself was taught by the great Fred Peshlakai, son

of the legendary 19th century Navajo master silversmith, Slender-Maker-of-Silver. There is no better lineage in the history of Navajo silversmithing.

Debbie was essentially raised by her Grandparents, Kenneth Begay and his wife, Eleanor, at their home in Steamboat Canyon, Arizona and she learned silveresmithing at Kenneth Begay’s knee beginning  her apprenticeship at the tender age of 10 and there was simply no better place to learn than that and it clearly shows in her wonderful work; clean-lined, with a classic sensibility and a streamlined somewhat Modernist appearance and always technically outstanding.

“Every day I try to wake up in beauty. I am very enthused by my culture and teaching.”

-Debbie Silversmith, Quotation source and © Garland’s, Sedona, AZ

At left, The White Hogan Shop, c. 1954. Kenneth Begay is pictured at lower right. At right, Kenneth Begay's Granddaughter, Debbie Silversmith, c. 2012.

Left photo source and © Arizona Republic. Right photo source and © Martha Struever, Santa Fe, NM.

This classic strand of Navajo silver beads, known colloquially as “Navajo Pearls” is a perfect case in point. Making traditionally crafted Navajo two-piece silver beads is very painstaking and demanding work. Every single bead must be precisely cut, hammered into shape and fit together. To make all the beads perfectly matched in size as these 65 silver beads are is even more demanding. The necklace is finished with a pair of beautifully-tapered handmade silver cones which are 1 3/4" in length and a lovely silver clasp.

The necklace is properly signed “DEBBIE” on both of the silver cones and is also stamped with her domed Navajo

Hogan insignia, a tribute to her Grandfather’s former company, The White Hogan Shop of Scottsdale Arizona as well

as a personal acknowledgment of the fact that after Kenneth Begay's death in 1977, Debbie inherited his silversmithing

tools which she has used ever since in making her own jewelry pieces including this necklace.

The necklace measures 28 1/2" in length measured from end-to end while opened up flat. It measures 14" from the

top of the silver clasp to the bottom of the beads while lying flat on a table. The 65 perfectly-matched silver beads

are each just slightly under 1/2" in diameter. The necklace weighs a substantial yet extremely comfortable to wear

110 grams or 3 7/8 ounces.

The necklace has a just right provenance, the previous owner from whom we recently acquired it told us

that she had purchased it directly from Debbie silversmith in the late 1990’s. This is a completely classic Navajo

silver jewelry piece by a classically trained Modern-day Navajo Silversmith. It perfectly combines art, tradition, history, beauty, sophistication, fashionability, comfort and wearability. It is the entire package in one beautiful piece.

Wearing this beautiful necklace will help you achieve the ideal human state

of being according to the Navajo people, that of “Walking in Beauty”.

Price $2,400