The string of “Hubble” beads were originally traded to Native Americans living within forty miles of Ganado, Arizona and the trading post owned by John Lawrence Hubbell, “Don Lorenzo”, to be found there. Hubbell who recognized the potential of Navajo, Dine’, jewelers as early as 1884,[1] began trading imported Bohemian pressed glass beads from Czechoslovakia sometime after the First World War. The lovely teardrop shaped turquoise colored beads possibly found their origins in ancient Puebloan jewelry shown to “Sample Men” by Hubbell.[2] Czechoslovakian “Sample men travelled worldwide to speak with Czech Glass bead wholesale suppliers and determine what would sell best in each market. They then returned to Czechoslovakia and advised on specific designs for sale to these markets.”[3] By 1926, they were in quite widespread use.[4]

The lovely “Hubbell” glass bezel set into the bracelet simulate blue turquoise complete with matrix.[5] According to John Adair’s, The Navajo and Pueblo Silversmiths, Navajo artist Mary Burnsides said, “…I bought some of these glass beads that looked like turquoise…set them…I sold them for goats and sheep. The Navajo knew they weren’t turquoise, but they thought they looked pretty so they bought lots of them.”[6]



[1] Bedinger, Margery. Indian silver: Navajo and Pueblo jewelers. Albuquerque, University of New Mexico Press, 1974.

 

[2] Dubin, Lois Sherr. North American Indian jewelry and adornment: from prehistory to the present. New York, Abrams, 2003.

[3] “History of Czech Glass Beads Manufacture.” Big Bead Little Bead, www.bigbeadlittlebead.com/guides_and_information/history_of_czech_glass_beads.php. Accessed 11 Sept. 2017.

[4] Sorensen, Cloyd. “The Enduring Intrigue of the Glass Trade Bead.” Arizona Highways, July 1971, pp. 10–37.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Adair, John. The Navajo and Pueblo silversmiths. Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, 1975.