Ruby Haley grew up near Gallup, New Mexico in the community of Pinedale. Her grandmother, Annie Bahe Begay, was a Navajo weaver and taught Ruby the art of bead making when she was only six years old. Ruby is the only grandchild who kept her grandparents’ bead making tradition going.
Her daughters, Victoria and Veltenia, and her son, Ben, are now very accomplished bead makers. Her nephew, Preston, has also been learning bead making over the last few years. This makes five generations of Navajo bead makers. Ruby’s granddaughters, Faith and Alliyah, are the sixth generation to continue this art.
Ruby uses very traditional methods for crafting her silver bead necklaces. After dapping them (making them curved), she grinds the silver beads on a rock and strings them on a binder wire. After stringing the beads, Ruby uses Borax to clean them and then she sands all the edges. Once the necklace is completed, she uses a polishing wheel to give each silver necklace its bright appearance.
After making their jewelry, the Haley family burns sage and prays over each piece. They pray that whoever wears their jewelry will be blessed, have good health, and happiness.
Beyond jewelry making, Ruby enjoys sewing and making cradle boards, traditional Navajo wedding dresses, quilts, and western shirts. The Haley family all live in New Mexico. They are all kind people who are warm and loving to everyone they meet!