Jennifer and Stephanie Medina White Clam Shell Heishi Necklace with Inlay PendantItem No: 4192
Sisters Jennifer and Stephanie Medina of Santo Domingo Pueblo handcrafted this contemporary necklace drawing upon two traditional jewelry-making techniques. Each white clam shell bead has been cut and formed by hand by the artists, carrying on the ancient Santo Domingo art of bead-making. The circular pendant features a unique geometric design of turquoise, apple coral, and black jet created through the ancient mosaic inlay style. By taking an unexpected approach to inlay, the Medina’s have created a modern masterpiece that celebrates the Santo Domingo legacy of quality and craftsmanship in a unique, vibrant design.
- Necklace handcrafted by Jennifer and Stephanie Medina (Santo Domingo Pueblo)
- Sterling silver
- White clam shell,apple coral, turquoise,black jet
- Mosaic overlay
- Hook and eye closure
- Necklace measures 18-3/4” long x 3/8” wide
- 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.
Jennifer Medina is a contemporary jewelry artist from Kewa (Santo Domingo) Pueblo. Her bold one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces feature innovative shapes and sculptural silhouettes. She often incorporates traditional Kewa pottery designs into her contemporary silver designs. Stephanie Medina of Kewa (Santo Domingo) Pueblo comes from a renowned family of jewelers. She learned jewelry-making from her mother, acclaimed artist, Rose Medina, who was known for her mosaic inlay jewelry. Stephanie Medina has built upon her mother’s inlay tradition, adding her own vision and contemporary touches. Medina’s jewelry has been featured in such prestigious shows as Heard Museum Indian Fair & Market, the Autry Museum Indian Market and the Eight Northern Pueblos Arts & Crafts Show. She signs her work with a protruding gemstone bead of turquoise or coral.
Native American beadwork is an extremely diverse tradition with the style, aesthetic and type of work varying greatly from tribe to tribe. For more than a thousand years, Native Americans have made stone and shell beads by hand, stringing these for adornment and trade. With the introduction of glass beads by Europeans in the 16th and 17th centuries, Native Americans began to develop the decorative forms of beadwork that are most associated with Native cultures today. Plains Indian beadwork developed as an art during the 19th century is perhaps best known today. Traditionally, Plains Indian artisans added beads to tanned hides with sinew threads, covering dresses, moccasins, dance regalia, cradles and other accessories with elaborate beaded designs. Today, artists from many tribes create both traditional and contemporary beadwork, decorating everything from dolls and cradleboards to sneakers and headbands. One of the most prized and beautiful forms of Native American art, beadwork has come to be seen as an important icon and representation of Native American heritage.
In Santo Domingo Pueblo, bead-making has been a central part of life for centuries. These beads are known as “heishi,” which means “shell” in the Santo Domingo language Keres. Most heishi beads are rolled into smooth flat discs, but heishi can refer to any small beads that have been made by hand. Heishi may be the oldest form of jewelry in New Mexico, and necklaces with similar bead styles have been found in the ancient Anasazi sites Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde. The process is extremely labor intensive, and it can take up to two weeks to make a single strand of heishi beads. First, the shell or gemstone is sliced into strips, then clipped by hand into small squares. These unfinished beads are drilled and strung on a fine wire. Next, the artist turns the string of beads against a stone wheel to make them round, further shaping and smoothing with sand paper. Finally, the beads are run against a leather belt to achieve a fine polish. Today, fewer and fewer artists are creating their beads by hand, making true handcrafted heishi necklaces an extremely valuable piece for art and jewelry collectors.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.