This turquoise heishi necklace is much more than just a piece of jewelry. It is museum quality, made by Santo Domingo master artist Lupe Lovato, known for continuing the centuries-old tradition of making hand-rolled heishi. The necklace was purchased by a collector in the Midwest who had great respect for Native American culture and art. She had a Native American shop, but also collected for her own enjoyment. She traveled extensively buying Native American jewelry, sometimes establishing relationships directly with Native American artists, and also returning again and again to reputable trading posts in various parts of the US. We know that this piece was purchased in the late 1980s or early 1990s, was appraised in 1993 and later insured for $918. There are matching earrings being offered separately.
We also know that the turquoise came from a Nevada mine called Lone Mountain, and that the heishi were hand rolled, hand-cut. The Lone Mountain mine has produced since 1920. Its turquoise is gem-grade quality, and the spiderweb turquoise from the mine is especially prized. From a 1968 excerpt about Menless Winfield, the man who bought the mine in 1951 and whose family still owns it today: "Men who deal in the buying and selling of turquoise refer to Menless Winfield as one of the best authorities on turquoise and Menless refers to the Lone Mountain Turquoise Mine as producing the highest known quality turquoise in the world, and yields run from 6 to 14 pounds per day. The turquoise produced at the Winfield mine is known in the trade as Black Matrix, Spider Web and Golden Matrix and ranges in color from deep blue to robin's egg blue."
Santo Domingo (Kewa) Pueblo, located north of me by about 33 miles, is the leading producer of heishi, which is a Keresen meaning "shell," although the term "heishi" now applies to the sliced flat circular beads made of any natural material, including turquoise. This form of jewelry is similar to what has been found in Anasazi excavations. Turquoise heishi beads are made by slicing stone into uniform strips, then nipping pieces into small squares. Each square has a hole drilled in it, and then the squares are strung on strings, each grouping worked to produce uniform size. The strings of squares are smoothed and rounded. They are eventually rolled into beads, which is why we use the term "hand-rolled." While hand tools may be used for drilling or grinding, Santo Domingo make their heishi beads by hand, unlike machine made fakes imported into the US and sold as authentic. Real Santo Domingo turquoise heishi beads are so smooth, so well-worked, that in the hand they feel like a rope or a serpent. The two loops on the end of the necklace are called "jacla" (or "jocla") and centuries ago, the original jacla would have been a pair of heishi earrings tied onto a heishi necklace. Later, loops of heishi specific for this purpose were tied onto the lower center of the heishi necklace.
This style of necklace is ceremonial, and in fact, the appraisal that came with this necklace (and earrings) referred to them as "wedding" pieces. Lupe Lovato's necklaces in this form today are substantial yet seem small when compared to this particular necklace, so much so that we believe this necklace (with the earrings, listed separately) were made as ceremonial jewelry. This style of necklace was and still today is worn by Santo Domingo themselves, men and women alike. Lovato lives in Santo Domingo Pueblo, and continues to be a highly collected and prolific artist. To offer an early piece of his, with such provenance, is an honor.
The necklace measures 30" when you measure the total length around just the necklace part, including the squaw wrap closure yet not the jacla. From the two stacked spiny oyster beads down to the tips of the jacla is another 6-1/2". The hang length is about 19-20" depending on the width of one's neck--so that is the length from where the necklace starts at the top of the neck down to where the end of the jacla. Again, that is an approximate measurement. The necklace weighs a whopping 223g. Note that the necklace is one continuous piece. made to place on and off over the head. The heishi beads are strung on twine, and the twine is wrapped together in that squaw wrap closure, which is then coated in wax. We believe that was done to preserve the twine through the ages.
A true heirloom piece, ready to pass on to the next family to wear and cherish.
Please convo with questions, or call (505) 369-6865. Will return your call as soon as possible.
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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