So much heishi these days is made by hand – but overseas. This heishi (little cylinder beads from shell or stone) necklace was made by hand here in New Mexico, by one of the handful of artists who still did this painstaking, tedious, material-intensive work. Ina is older now, and not working as much. An age-old form of jewelry, brought up-to-date by modern tools and artistic vision. Heishi used to be laboriously drilled on hand made pump drills, which you twirled like a top, and polished between pieces of rough bark. Now, dental drills can create minuscule beads that are machine-buffed to a satiny gleam and smoothness. But, there is still a pile of broken debris at the end, just like centuries ago.This magnificent example is the finest heishi you can find- in both the sense of excellence and of refinement. It sets the standard for heishi work: the beads are minuscule – really tiny – and there are twenty strands, each one as perfect as the others. Every bead is as uniform as humanly possible, and this allows the necklace to drape like fabric. Alternatively, you can twist the strands for a tighter, more tailored look.One of the great things about heishi necklaces is that they are lightweight; another is that they amortize beautifully, and, can be worn with literally everything you own. You can also wear it with other necklaces, for a very personal look. As an older piece – it emerged when we moved – this necklace is a real steal, in terms of price:skill:value ratio.
Sterling Silver, Olive Shell