The distinctive and elegant look of purple spiny oyster shell are showcased in these beautiful earrings handcrafted by acclaimed Santo Domingo lapidarist and silversmith Jimmy Calabaza. Shells in Native American Art remind us of the rich culture and historic trade routes that allow a shell purple in hue with unique stripes and mottled texture to be seen in the Southwest. These earrings will bring color to your jewelry wardrobe along with the sophistication and beauty that Native American jewelry is known for.
- Earrings handcrafted by Jimmy Calabaza (Santo Domingo Pueblo)
- Purple spiny oyster shell
- Shepherd’s hook ear wires
- Earrings measure 2-3/8” long x 1-5/8” 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.
Jimmy Calabaza, also known by his native name Ca’win, is a well-recognized and skilled Santo Domingo Pueblo artist who has built a name for himself amongst collectors both as a lapidarist and silversmith. Calabaza’s handmade smooth polished turquoise beads have become his signature as well as “side box” necklaces, and his use of heavy gauge silver in his pieces. Infusing traditional elements of Santo Domingo designs in the creation of contemporary masterpieces his pieces are true collector quality.
Many Native American jewelry artists working today are inspired by the interplay between traditional and contemporary styles. In their work they feel it is important to honor their history, heritage and culture, including the art forms and techniques passed down through generations of Pueblo families. By mixing and matching techniques, materials and themes that are contemporary and traditional, they create inspiring work that has made the modern Native American art world extremely vibrant.
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. 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 work directly with artists or partner with trusted wholesalers who can provide documentation that their artists and artisans are of Native American heritage. 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, we stand behind the authenticity of every unique piece of fine art we offer. For more than 35 years, we have developed lasting relationships with artists, dealers and collectors, and we take pride in being a trusted destination for fine Native American art.