Jimmy Calabaza Sterling Silver and Kingman Turquoise Graduated Bead NecklaceItem No: 4836
This modern update on classic heishi style was handcrafted by acclaimed Santo Domingo lapidarist and silversmith Jimmy Calabaza. This exquisite necklace features graduated disc-shaped beads of sterling silver and Kingman turquoise, an iconic gemstone of Southwestern and Native American jewelry. Each bead has been cut and formed by hand by the artist, carrying on the ancient Santo Domingo art of bead-making. A versatile and vibrant piece, this necklace showcases a unique, collectible gem and the artistry of Calabazas’ fine work.
- Necklace handcrafted by Jimmy Calabaza (Santo Domingo Pueblo)
- Sterling silver
- Kingman Turquoise
- Hook and eye closure
- Necklace measures 26-1/2” long x 7/8” 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.
Kingman turquoise is one of the iconic gemstones of Native American jewelry and a favorite of jewelry collectors around the world. Located in northwest Arizona, Kingman is one of the largest turquoise mines in North America and supplies much of the turquoise used in Native American and Southwestern jewelry. The site has been mined by Native Americans for hundreds of years, and is one of only three prehistoric mining sites that have been found in Arizona. Kingman turquoise became famous in the 1950s for its brilliant blue gems with striking black matrix. The mine also produces blue gems with silver matrix and other shades of blue and green turquoise. Over 95 percent of the turquoise that come out of the mine must be stabilized. The high-grade gems that don’t require stabilization are extremely valuable and among the finest types of turquoise in the world.
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 sandpaper. 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.