This necklace is the real McCoy. This is the style of necklace that Native artists often choose to wear for special occasions, and at shows.
It is an older piece, so we have no record of the maker, but it is from Santo Domingo Kewa Pueblo, and a very finely made necklace.
A much more refined version of ages-old heishi necklaces, this impressive piece features five strands of spiny oyster shell, in a buttery yellow.
The natural variation in the shell adds a range of brownish-purple and toast-hued colors.
Random accents of stabilized green turquoise heishi add a complementary spark.
The individual heishi beads are graduated, largest at the bottom of each strand. And this continues all the way up to the clasp!
The strands are graduated in length so they fall neatly in a graceful curve, each strand lying flat, held by the flat tabs.
These arched tabs lie right at the collar bone: they are slabs of the same shell, cut, diced, and rounded into each little bead.
The work involved in fashioning this necklace – aside from the creative vision – was daunting.
Not only incredibly labor-intensive, each little heishi bead represents a pile of unusable shell debris.
Each step of the fabrication process of heishi leaves broken, cracked, and fragmented pieces of shell.
So, you can imagine how much larger an amount of material is needed to form these long, multiple strands.
Obviously, a painstaking labor of dedication and know-how went into this gorgeous necklace, starting with a picture in the artist’s eye.
The process included: finding and amassing the number of shells needed, then patiently and skillfully cutting, drilling, forming, polishing, and stringing each bead.
It is hard to imagine such patience and devotion to process, not including the talent involved every step of the way.
With a golden glow, this necklace radiates a timeless style. Despite its stunning impact, it remains very wearable.
A glorious accent for sweaters, suits, and dresses, this necklace will amortize in no time, but the impact will never fade.