This is traditional style, radically updated. Southwestern tribes wore pieces of pretty stones and shells for centuries, before learning to make silver jewelry.
Of course, in the past, the turquoise and shell would have been in rough, irregular lumps, rather than formed into these beautifully smooth, graduated, and tiny, disks.
Many Santo Domingo artists produce versions of heishi, or beads of shell and stones. Joe Pacheco, however, is one of the dwindling few who still cuts all his own stones and shells – a tedious, material- and labor-intensive process.
The turquoise is stabilized; natural turquoise whose pores have been permeated with polyurethane, like a gym floor, to ensure it will not crumble, when cut.
This is absolutely accepted, since the stone is natural, and simply made harder, for shaping.
Finding enough natural stone of the highest degree of hardness, in quantities enough to cut into little pieces, would be prohibitive in cost, if even possible, today.
The teeny tiny baby olive shell is entirely natural, and the warm brown is a handsome complement to the turquoise.
The brown matrix that appears, here and there, in the turquoise ties the whole together, visually.
Graduated in size, with impressive exactitude, the turquoise heishi disks form plumply rounded and gracefully tapered centers to the necklace.
This style is Joe’s own innovation, and it is an instant classic.
Elegantly shaped turquoise, joined to minuscule shell heishi, equals a fabulous choker that you will wear and wear – happily.