Kewa Pueblo Seashell Necklace Embellished with Gemstones [SOLD]

C4439B-shell.jpg

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Jeweler Unknown
  • Category: Necklaces
  • Origin: KEWA, Santo Domingo Pueblo
  • Medium: seashell, turquoise, jet, white jasper, commercial beads
  • Size: 3-⅝” x 3-⅝” shell
  • Item # C4439B
  • Price: $550.00

Seashell may appear to be an unusual item associated with New Mexico native jewelry, but this landlocked state has been the source for 400 years of some of the finest jewelry made from seashells.  What comes to mind mostly is heishe—a bead made from cutting and sanding small sections of seashell, when strung together, make fine necklaces.

Navajo and Pueblo tribal members had a trading route between New Mexico and California, and one between New Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico.  Individuals would walk or run from here to there, and there to here, to trade turquoise and other unique southwest items for seashells from the coasts.  Seashells would be used as body bandoliers, as beads on clothing, as items tied around legs to make sounds when dancing, and for making jewelry, such as this shell overlaid with beautiful mosaic gemstones.

Deep blue turquoise was cut into squares and overlaid on the upper half of the shell.  It was then outlined with square cut black and white overlays.  The remainder of the shell was left exposed.

This shell was sent to us from an estate in Maryland. It had been drilled at the top with two miniature holes from which to suspend it for a necklace. We asked a Laguna Pueblo native, beadwork artist Carol Gala, to attach a string of sinew to the shell, on which she added small, rounded beads. The shell can now be worn as the necklace it was designed to be. If desired, the small beads could be removed, leaving the bare sinew.


Condition: excellent condition

Provenance: this Kewa Pueblo Seashell Necklace Embellished with Gemstones is from the estate of a client from Maryland

Relative Links: Southwest Indian Jewelry, Santo Domingo Pueblo - Kewa, Necklaces, Carol Gala, Laguna Pueblo

Close up view of the embellished seashell.

Jeweler Unknown
  • Category: Necklaces
  • Origin: KEWA, Santo Domingo Pueblo
  • Medium: seashell, turquoise, jet, white jasper, commercial beads
  • Size: 3-⅝” x 3-⅝” shell
  • Item # C4439B
  • Price: $550.00

C4439B-shell.jpgC4439B-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.