Beautiful Jewelry Made by Native American Artists from the Navajo Indian Tribe, Santo Domingo Indian Tribe, and the Zuni Indian Tribe. Every handcrafted necklace is unique. The photos are of the necklace you will be receiving.
Native American Necklaces
The exact meaning of the word Heishi (hee shee) is "shell necklace". It comes from the Keres language, spoken by the Native Americans living in Kewa, (Santo Domingo Pueblo). They are acknowledged to be the masters of this beautiful, creative form which developed out of their societal heritage. Currently there are a few artisans producing it at San Felipe and perhaps other pueblos as well. It appears to be the only Indian jewelry that derives directly from Native American history and culture, since the metal smithing and lapidary skills used by the Navajo, Zuni and Hopi have their origins in the European influence of the early Spanish explorers. When properly used, the name refers only to pieces of shell which have been drilled and ground into beads that are then strung to make either single or multi-strand necklaces. However, in common usage, the work heishi, also denoted necklaces whose very tiny beads are made of other natural materials by a similar procees.
The origin of heishi is fascinating, because it is directly linked to the ancient past of the Santo Domingo Pueblo Indians, the people most skilled in its fabrication. Historically, however, the first people to make shell necklaces were those of the Hohokam culture who lived as long as ten thousand years ago in the area of modern day Tucson, Arizona. They traded and mixed with the Anasazi 'cliff dwellers,' whose members are believed to be the ancestors of the present day Pueblo inhabitants. The emergence of heishi as an art form was first recorded in 6000 B.C. Since it predates the introduction of metals, it is safe to say that this must be the oldest form of jewelry in New Mexico, and perhaps in North America as well.
Of course, New Mexico is not a sea coast state. The Kewa have been trading since the beginning of recorded history, and they made their journeys on foot to sites where other tribes had shells and goods to exchange. It was a long way to travel just to make a necklace!