Vintage 16-Strand Mediterranean Coral Heishi Bead Necklace, Native American Indian Jewelry

$1,200.00

This amazing necklace comes from an Arizona estate. What I know about it is, the piece belonged to the matriarch of that estate, that she purchased it in Santa Fe in the late 1960s to early 1970s (as her now 50+ year old daughter remembers her mother wearing this to her graduation in the late 70s yet she thinks her father gave it to her a few years earlier). Normally we might attribute the piece to Santo Domingo, who were masterful heishi makers, but those sterling silver cones indicate it was more likely Navajo made. 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 very small heishi beads, and today--with so many beads machine made--is hard for most of us to fathom the work that went into creating each bead to be uniform enough to be strung into such a necklace. Coral carries great meaning among many cultures. First, the color red is considered a color of life, passion, fire, strength, and wealth. 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). This particular coral piece could easily retail for $2000 or more, and it will increase in value over time.

The 16 strands measure about 16-1/2" cone to cone, and there is about 8" additional in handmade sterling silver chain. My guidance is that you don't want the necklace to hang at the full length of the end of the chain; it is preferable closer to 17" or 18", which will work well given the curved style of the cones. In other words, I would not try to wear it at 24", for example. This piece has been well stored and kept in great vintage condition given that the family knew that it was a very uncommon and special piece.

Authentic old coral--heirloom quality and museum quality!

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Please convo with questions, or call (505) 369-6865. Will return your call as soon as possible.

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For More Native Necklaces, Pendants, and Pins: http://bit.ly/2ESs4Tf
Native American Earrings: http://bit.ly/2FyZ8wy
Native American Rings: http://bit.ly/2HQXwyY
Native Bracelets and Watches: https://bit.ly/2NpeypL
Native Belts and Bolos: http://bit.ly/2oz2XKp
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