Ben Haley was a fifth generation silversmith. He was the only son of Ruby Haley, who is a famous artist for making Navajo Pearl necklaces. Ruby’s grandmother, Annie Bahe Begay, taught Ruby the art of bead making when she was only six years old. Ben’s sisters, Victoria and Veltenia, are also very accomplished bead makers. His younger cousin, Preston, started silversmithing a few years ago.
The Haley family use very traditional methods for crafting their silver bead necklaces. After dapping them (making them curved), they grind the silver beads on a rock and string them on a binder wire. After stringing the beads, they use Borax to clean them and then sand all the edges. Ben would then finish his silver beads with a satin finish, and he was the only one in the family that made this beautiful style.
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.
Sadly, Ben passed away in 2021. He will be missed greatly. Ben was a soft-spoken and kind-hearted man. He was married to the late Natasha Peshlakai, who was also an artist from a well-known family of silversmiths. Together they had a son and lived in New Mexico.