This classic graduated bead necklace is both traditional and bold. Smooth disc-shaped beads of blue turquoise and black jet create a striking color combination that is also an iconic look in Southwestern jewelry. A fresh take on the classic heishi bead design, this necklace will go with anything in your closet.
- Necklace handcrafted by Native American artists of the Southwest
- Graduated beads
- Blue turquoise and black jet
- Traditional heishi bead necklace
- Hook and eye closure
- Necklace measures 18”L x 1/2”W
- Comes with a signed Certificate of Authenticity
Handcrafted works of Native American art require special care. For more information about proper care and cleaning, please read our Care Guide.
This heishi bead necklace was handcrafted by skilled Native American artists. For centuries Pueblo and Native American artists have fashioned gemstone, stone and shell beads into lasting jewelry pieces. Their skill at creating distinctive beaded jewelry is unmatched, and today beaded jewelry remains a celebrated tradition.
Native Americans in the Southwest have been wearing beaded jewelry for centuries. The beaded tradition is most closely associated with Santo Domingo Pueblo, known for creating beautiful shell and gemstone beads by hand. These beads are called “heishi,” which means “shell” in the Santo Domingo language Keres. Necklaces with similar bead styles have been found in the ancient Anasazi sites Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde, and heishi may be the oldest form of jewelry in New Mexico, and. Traditionally, heishi beads are smooth flat discs, but today the term is used to refer to any small beads that are strung together. Native American artists across the Southwest are known for handcrafting beautiful bead necklaces using iconic gemstones like turquoise, coral, jet and spiny oyster shell. Beaded jewelry continues to be a vibrant form, as artists create both traditional pieces and more contemporary pieces with non-traditional gemstones, new bead shapes, unexpected color combinations and unique necklace silhouettes.
Jewelry has been made and worn in the Southwest since prehistoric times. For thousands of years Native Southwestern people have made mosaic inlay and beads of turquoise, shell, bone or stone. Metal arrived with the Spanish. Native Americans acquired metal ornaments through trade, but it was not until the middle of the 19th century that Navajo and Zuni artisans learned the craft from Mexican blacksmiths and silversmiths. Their early silver jewelry creations were plain, with simple engraved, stamped or punched designs. Turquoise was first used in silver around 1880. By the turn of the century, silversmithing was widespread across the Southwest and Native artists were making more sophisticated pieces like concho belts and squash blossom and naja necklaces. The Navajo soon became known for their use of silver, emphasizing silver-heavy designs with only a few gemstones, while the Zuni focused on stone work, featuring finely cut clusters of gems in complex patterns. The Hopi and Pueblo tribes also developed distinctive jewelry styles in the early 1900s. Today, Native American artists draw upon both traditional and contemporary influences, and their shell, gemstone and silver jewelry is prized and collected by people around the world.Read our Native American Jewelry Collector's Guide.
At Shumakolowa Native Arts, we guarantee that your purchase is an original and authentic work handcrafted by Native American artists as defined by the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990. We ask our artists to complete an extensive certification process, providing a CIB (Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood) card and other documentation of their Native American heritage. Our team of experts carefully inspects every product to guarantee it is handcrafted using traditional, sustainable processes and natural materials of only the highest quality. We record the place and date of each purchase and pride ourselves in paying a fair price that allows artists to make a living practicing their craft. Every work of handcrafted art comes with a Certificate of Authenticity signed by an artist or buyer. At a time when many commercially-made products are being sold as handcrafted Native American art, our in-depth purchase process allows us to guarantee the authenticity of every unique piece of fine art we offer. For more than 35 years, we have made it a priority to visit artists in their studio or home to purchase their latest handcrafted pieces and learn about their work. We have developed lasting relationships with artists, as well as dealers and collectors, and we take pride in being a trusted destination for fine Native American art.