Diné Single Strand Turquoise Nugget Necklace

C4643-112-necklace.jpg

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Jeweler Unknown
  • Category: Necklaces
  • Origin: Diné of the Navajo Nation
  • Medium: Turquoise, Mother of pearl, White shell, string
  • Size: 26” end-to-end
  • Item # C4643.112
  • Price: $650

This very traditional necklace has been made and worn both by Pueblo and Navajo tribal members for as long as one remembers. The heishi was made from white shell. It was cut, drilled, strung, and sanded to a round shape before becoming available for the necklace. The turquoise gemstones were cut into irregular shapes and sizes, then drilled for use in the necklace. Lastly, a few Mother-of-pearl pieces were cut, burnished, and drilled to be interspersed between the turquoise nuggets. The components were then strung on twisted cotton string. The result is an extraordinarily beautiful necklace.

Necklaces composed of shells and turquoise are the favored style of Pueblo dancers participating in traditional plaza dance ceremonies. In almost every dance, male and female dancers will be seen wearing such a necklace, from single strand ones like this or multiple strand ones. Seeing dozens of dancers participating in a ceremony, each wearing such a necklace, reinforces the importance of such necklaces in the ceremonial life of the Pueblo Indians.

Interestingly, the newly elected Chairman of the Navajo Nation was photographed recently wearing a multi-strand nugget necklace of this style. I do not believe this style will ever be abandoned by the Natives.


Condition: very good condition

Provenance: this Diné Single Strand Turquoise Nugget Necklace is from the collection of a client

Recommended Reading: TURQUOISE TREASURES The Splendor of Southwest Indian Art by Spencer Gill

TAGS: Southwest Indian JewelryNavajonecklace

The twisted cotton string is tied in the back.

Alternate close-up view of the necklace.

Jeweler Unknown
  • Category: Necklaces
  • Origin: Diné of the Navajo Nation
  • Medium: Turquoise, Mother of pearl, White shell, string
  • Size: 26” end-to-end
  • Item # C4643.112
  • Price: $650

C4643-112-necklace.jpgC4643-112-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.