Charlene learned from her in-laws when she married into Santo Domingo-Ke-Wa Pueblo. So well, that she has won many prestigious awards since starting on her own in the 1980s.
Charlene, herself, does the designing, cutting and inlaying; her husband does the final polishing and grinding of the shells and stones.
This stunning necklace has two very different color arrangements, like night and day.
One side, with its clear blue turquoise and touches of pristine mother of pearl, suggests a lovely summer’s day, with a soft breeze in the air.
The reverse side is all about the mysteries of the night: black jet, royal purple sugilite, black-lipped mother of pearl, and iridescent abalone shell, create a palette redolent of dancing in the dark, romancing in the moonlight, and other such delights.
Since there is no room for a hallmark, Charlene adds accents of visibly contrasting shells or stones, on each side, as her signature.
Aside from the artistic composition of materials and colors, the technique of this inlay artist is amazing: there are thirty narrow rectangles on each side of the necklace, before reaching the multicolored tabs in the center.
That makes a total of sixty (60!) double-sided rectangles. And there is yet more – each of these narrow bars consists of a series of tiny inlaid stones, not one, just like the multi-colored tabs at the front.
The joints are visible on the turquoise side, marked by hair-thick slivers of jet, whereas they are all jet on the “night” side, and so not immediately apparent.
Two very different looks, in one dazzling necklace; perfect for travel, since you can change the mood just by flipping over the necklace.
It is gorgeously obvious why Charlene has such an exalted reputation! Enjoy her artistry and skill, twice over.