Green Turquoise Heishi Leaf Necklace
Green Turquoise Heishi Leaf Necklace from Santo Domingo Pueblo. This necklace is from the 1970’s, has eight coral beads, and measures 34″ in length.
Heishi (from the Santo Domingo word meaning “shell”) traditionally referred to necklace shell beads. Today, however, it describes tiny, handmade beads of any material. The Santo Domingo Pueblo carvers are the most proficient heishi producers. To make the minuscule beads, the material (shell, stone, or coral) is sliced into strips, and then cut into small squares, after which holes are drilled through the center. Strung together, the rough squares are shaped and smoothed by holding the string against a turning stone wheel. In the process, 60 – 70% of the original material is lost.