Winner of many awards, this artist is considered one of the premier jewelers – from Santo Domingo, or anywhere – who still cut, slice, drill, polish, and string shells and stones, entirely by hand.
This lovely tab necklace, of natural spiny oyster shell, brings the warm, glowing shades of sunset to your wardrobe all year long, night or day.
It is a new version of a prehistoric form of adornment, seen in photographs from the earliest 1800’s, and found in archeological digs that date way before that.
Naturally, Ray’s work is much more refined than those ancient chunks of shell and stone, but the style, technique, and materials are direct descendants.
Notice how the little curved tabs are graduated in size, from smallest, at the back, to largest at front.
The tabs are separated by heishi -round disks of matching spiny oyster shell- providing a uniform look.
Naturally variegated tones of orange, peach, coral and white give the piece a lively visual texture, within overall harmony.
One tab of natural blue turquoise, also cut, drilled, polished and strung, by hand, is both Ray’s”signature”, and a brilliant color complement to the sunlit marigold hue of the shell.
As flattering as a ruffle, as casual as a tee-shirt, this exceptionally well-made necklace will light up dresses and suits, as well.
Its lightweight, feminine, but unassuming, good looks belie the intense labor and material loss that went into its creation.
“You have to suffer to be beautiful”, goes a saying. Does tedious, patient, skillful work, and a heap of broken bits of shell qualify as suffering?
The result is certainly beautiful! And classic, and fabulously wearable. (It will amortize in no time at all.)
A link to the past, with a very lovely, present-day allure.