Kewa Pueblo Turquoise Nugget and White Shell Necklace - C4072F
This style necklace is centuries old. Archaeologists discovered caches of turquoise and shell necklaces at Chaco Canyon, evidence that the ancestors of today's Pueblo people were using turquoise nuggets and shell as items of adornment over one thousand years ago. And from the earliest of times, turquoise has been favored by the Pueblo Indians of the Southwest. They mined it at Cerrillos, about 30 miles south of Santa Fe, for centuries. Turquoise had religious, ceremonial, superstitious and economic values to the Pueblo Indians.
Bits of turquoise were put in bearing beams of buildings to strengthen them, offerings of turquoise were made at sacred shrines, medicine men used it in diagnostic and healing rituals, and it was often used in burials. It is a unique sign of wealth and is seen in abundance at ceremonial dances at the pueblos of New Mexico. Hieshe, made from seashells, such as used in this necklace, is constructed in a most interesting manner. The shell is cut into small pieces, drilled and strung on cotton string, then slowly and meticulously rolled over sandstone until each piece is round and all the pieces are of the same diameter or graduated diameter, if desired. Cotton is used because it is softer and doesn't wear against the shell too abrasively. The turquoise tabs that are added to such a hieshe necklace are drilled, often off center, and strung with the hieshe to form an interesting necklace.
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