Single Strand White Heishi, Turquoise, and Shell Necklace [SOLD]


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This single-strand necklace has white shell heishi, rich blue turquoise, and spondylus shell nuggets. The heishi was graduated in size with the largest diameter in the main section of the necklace, and then slowly decreased in diameter for the remainder of the necklace. The dark blue turquoise is from the same turquoise mine. Some of them were drilled in their center and others drilled off center. The spondylus shells vary in size and thickness. The nuggets are separated by three white heishi beads between each.

The necklace is colorful because of the mixture of materials. It is an impressive necklace because of the turquoise and shell colors and sizes. It is not a heavy necklace so it would be comfortable to wear. A simple hook and loop design secures this necklace (see below).

What is Heishi? it is usually made from coral, turquoise or seashell. The shells or coral are first cut into small square sections, drilled in the center, strung on wire or string, then sanded by hand, in an up and down stroke, until each one is round. That sounds easy but is not. It is important to exert the same pressure on every stroke to achieve heishi of the same diameter when finished. The shell is punched out in a square shape, hole drilled through center, strung, and then sanded to the diameter it needs to be. According to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, the beaded tradition is most closely associated with Santo Domingo Pueblo, known for creating beautiful shell and gemstone beads by hand. These beads are called "heishi," which means "shell" in the Santo Domingo Keres language. Necklaces with similar bead styles have been found in the ancient Anasazi sites Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde, and heishi may be the oldest form of jewelry in New Mexico. Traditionally, heishi beads are smooth flat discs, but today the term is used to refer to any small beads that are strung together.

Condition: very good condition

Provenance: this Single Strand White Heishi, Turquoise, and Shell Necklace is from the extensive collection of a client from Colorado

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

TAGS: Southwest Indian JewelryKEWA, Santo Domingo Pueblonecklace

Simple hook and loop design secures this necklace.

Jeweler Once Known
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