Haley, Ruby and Benjamin


Silver Bead Makers

Ruby Haley was born near Gallup, New Mexico to parents who were silversmiths that specialized in making silver bead necklaces. In addition to her parents, she had nine “aunties” who also worked with silver. 

 “I started when I was five years old,” she says, "and I was soldering by the time I was eight. Many of the tools I use were gifts over the years from my grandmother. I still use them.”

She is considered one of the finest “Navajo Pearls” makers and works with her husband, Benjamin. They passed the skills to their children.

Their son, Ben Patrick, started making beads when he was ten. After attending the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, he was accepted to the Santa Fe Indian Market, where he won a Best of Show Award. Unfortunately, he passed shortly after that. However, his son, Luke, is a silversmith and recently won a Blue Ribbon at the Gallup Ceremonial.

Ruby’s two daughters are also bead makers. Veltenia, from Gallup, and Victoria, from Farmington, are accomplished silversmiths.

Ruby has also taught her grandsons to work with silver.

 “I told them if they want basketball shoes, they need to learn to work with silver!”

Her entire family has always played basketball, and she now follows two of her grandsons to the games they play as members of the Tohatchi High School team. Two of her grandchildren are now serving in the U.S. Marine Corps.

“I told them, no matter what happens, even if they have a job, they can always go back to being a silversmith," she says. "I am proud of all of them."