Handcrafted by Santo Domingo artist Ramona Byrd, this necklace and earrings set is a unique contemporary representation of the ancient art of heishi. Calabaza has created a beautiful array of colors ranging from ivory to chocolate brown by dyeing white shell beads with tea. Calabaza’s beads are perfectly smooth and fall like liquid across the skin, and they are strung to create a captivating ombre effect as one color fades brilliantly into the next. The long necklace length works well over tunics and sweaters and the neutral palette of both pieces makes them a beautiful complement to everything in your wardrobe. A fresh take on the classic heishi bead design, this necklace and earring set is an ideal piece for jewelry lovers of all ages.
- Necklace handcrafted by Ramona Byrd (Santo Domingo Pueblo)
- Sterling silver
- White shell beads dyed with tea
- Hook and eye necklace closure
- Shepherd’s hook ear wires
- Necklace measures 26” long x 3/8” wide; earrings measure 2-3/4” long x 1/2” 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.
Ramona Byrd is an accomplished Santo Domingo bead artist known for the fineness and exquisite craftsmanship of her heishi bead necklaces, earrings and sets. She handcrafts both traditional and contemporary jewelry styles.
Many Native American artists are inspired by their rich cultural history and the traditions of art, dance, community and cuisine that have carefully been passed down for generations. From colorful shell bead work and mosaic inlay to Navajo weaving and Pueblo pottery, there are many art forms that are unique to the Pueblo people of New Mexico and tribes of the Southwest. Native American artists are inspired to preserve these traditional art forms, using them to tell stories of their history and culture while also preserving the high standards of craftsmanship that make their work distinctive, valuable and lasting.
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. 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.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.