Born and raised on the Santo Domingo Pueblo Reservation in New Mexico, Ed Aguilar created jewelry for over 40 years and his talents will be truly missed. Ed began his jewelry-making early, as he studied silversmithing as a teen at a Santa Fe boarding school. Like many others from the Pueblo, Ed worked as a hot shot firefighter during the summers. Before he could finish high school, his father was injured and unable to work. To support his mother, three sisters and two brothers, Ed quit school and went to work.
In the 1960’s, Ed decided to make jewelry after watching his uncle "pull silver" into tubular beads for chains. He then taught himself how to make pulled silver beads -- stringing them much the same as his mother had strung her hand cut stone and shell beads years before. Ed uses a diamond-edge saw to cut his beads, and states, “If they are even 1/100th of an inch off, I won't use them.” The act of bead-cutting requires immense patience and precision, and this is especially true when one applies Ed’s high expectations of his flawless necklaces.
Whether it regarded his jewelry-making or his family, Ed had an extremely strong work ethic and sense of perseverance. Ed’s legacy continues; now, Ed’s wife Mary has picked up where he left off-- creating high quality, hand-drawn bead necklace using traditional techniques.