Among the few top Kewa necklace makers stands Nestoria Coriz. Her traditional-contemporary designs and styling incorporate handmade silver, distinctive drop pendants into unique art forms.
Coriz began learning all facets of heishi, bead and stone work from her paternal grandparents, Santiago and Trinidad Pena, at the age of six years. Her first tasks were to buff stones on buckskin floor rugs. At that time, there was little if any electrical power at the Santo Domingo Pueblo and so all jewelry work was created by hand.
As a teenager in the early 1960’s Coriz learned to make silver jewelry when she began working at Turpenos in Albuquerque along side her father, Lupe Pena. She is self-taught in all aspects of the design and construction of her necklaces and jewelry. Coriz uses the highest grade of stones and shells. She uses all types of turquoise in her designs, as well as all shades of spiny oyster, clam, gaspeite, Acoma jet, various corals, lapis and abalone. She makes all of her own sterling silver findings (cones, hooks and eyes) as well as the silver disks, barrels, and beads used in her pieces.
Her grandfather was a four-time governor of the pueblo and her father was still actively making traditional jewelry at the age of 96, before passing in 2009.