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Lapis and Shell Heishi


12-strand shell heishi necklace with small, polished lapis nuggets. Wrapped neckpiece.

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Twelve strands of polished lapis mini-nuggets animate tiny disks of shell. This glorious river of stones and shells swoops into a graceful drape, almost like fabric. A refined version of the oldest form of adornment, long a specialty of Santo Domingo Pueblo. Stone nuggets and pieces of exotic shells show up in archeological digs and historic photographs. Before the advent of modern jewelry techniques, these were lumpy, rough, and less than lustrous.

Present-day jewelers at this pueblo are renowned for the finesse of their interpretations of this ancient style. This necklace is exemplary: the polished lapis stones reflect the light in a winking pattern of gleaming surfaces; tiny slices of olive shell are a fine counterpoint. Both labor- and material-intensive, this type of jewelry amortizes quickly, since it suits our informal lifestyle and looks wonderful with everything from sweaters and shirts to suits and dresses.

Contemporary in the use of lapis, rather than turquoise, and in the exquisitely small size of the materials, this necklace kept the useful tradition of a neck wrap. This is so much more comfortable than a metal hook and eye for multi-strand necklaces, since the weight doesn’t hang from one point, but is distributed evenly around the neck.

Striking, but not gaudy, handsome and quietly dramatic, this necklace will look beautiful with almost all your wardrobe pieces. Wear it every day, and enjoy the confidence of looking great.

Additional information


Lapis, Commercial Sinew, Olive Shell