Vintage 10-Strand Mediterranean Coral Bead Treasure Necklace with Turquoise Jacla, Museum Quality

$4,950.00

This amazing necklace comes from my own collection, and it features light tomato orange-red natural beads that are the hallmark of Mediterranean coral, mixed with other beads, including smaller silver round beads, a couple of tab earrings, and a benchmade silver squash blossom, along with others. The treasure necklace--so-called since it is filled with not just coral but these other small "treasures" that have been re-used to adorn the coral--is finished off with a natural blue turquoise and white shell jacla that has been tied to the bottom of the necklace. I purchased the piece from the private collection of Gilo Lopez of Nakai Trading, when the trading post was still in business. It is increasingly rare to find undyed coral in Native American jewelry, as demand led to over harvesting. Yet, coral is one of the most desired types of Native American and Southwestern jewelry. It is not a stone but rather the skeletal remains of a sea animal that lives in warm waters. Navajo and Pueblo jewelers were first introduced to coral by the early Spanish traders who had obtained it from Mediterranean fishermen off the coast of Spain. Fascinated by the deep color, silversmiths began integrating coral into their jewelry. The coral in this piece has been hand shaped into tubular beads of varied sizes, although relatively uniform in length. Because they are natural coral pieces, they don't flow in a fluid way. Coral carries great meaning among many cultures. Many Native American cultures consider coral to be the blood of Mother Earth. From a scholarly article about Native American use of coral in jewelry: “Coral beads symbolize success and social prominence. The Native American people consider coral a sign of wealth and status … When you look at early multi-strand coral necklaces, it becomes evident that the wearer added strands of coral as they were able, as their wealth or social standing grew. Once, American Indian artist, Mary Rosetta brought out a few shoeboxes of her “private coral” … [T]his was the equivalent of her savings account.” (Hopkins-Struever, 2015). The ten strands are finished off with a squaw wrap, which has some discoloration. I only have worn the necklace for special occasions, and thus the wrap is not too discolored.

The 10 strands measure about 34" all the way around including the squaw wrap. The two strand jacla tied to the bottom adds an additional about 5" of length. This means the hang length will be about 20-22" (depending on the girth of your neck). Weighs about 210g.

Authentic old coral--heirloom, museum quality--a true treasure!

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Note that due to lighting plus monitor settings for brightness, contrast and other factors, there may be differences in the colors and tones of photos versus that of the actual item. Please message with questions and I will respond as soon as possible.

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