These fabulous multi-stone earrings with Sleeping Beauty turquoise, Lapis, Gaspeite, and spiny oyster dangle are handmade by Navajo artist Joe Piaso Jr.
Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is revered and highly sought after due to its pure sky blue color, which shows very little to no veining or webbing. It is still being collected from the Sleeping Beauty Mine in Globe, Arizona where a small operation of workers mines, processes and ships the stones. Sleeping beauty turquoise can be found in the southwestern part of the United States in Arizona. This highly sought-after stone has made a tremendous impact on the history of turquoise over the years. The stone got its name because the mountain where it is mined resembles a sleeping woman laying on her back with arms crossed.
Lapis is a deep blue semi-precious stone prized since antiquity for its intense color. Lapis lazuli was mined in the Badakhshan province in northeast Afghanistan as early as the 7th millennium BC.
Spiny oysters are members of a super-family that includes scallops. While they are not, in fact, true oysters, they do hold a lot of the oysters characteristics, such as their ability to adhere themselves to rocks in a cement-like fashion. Spiny oysters also have the same physical attributes as oysters, with two-part shells that are hinged together with a ball and socket design; their singular characteristic is their sharp, pointy outer shells, covered in spikes. To the common man, these incredible creatures are known as thorny oysters, or more commonly, spiny oysters. They are found primarily in the warm waters of the Sea of Cortez, off the coast of Baja California.While there are some more rare colors to be found, the mainstays are reds, oranges and purples; these are the natural colors of the shells and are not enhanced by jewelers in any way. Spiny oysters develop these vibrant colors because of their differing diets; seaweed and various forms of plankton produce strikingly different colors when eaten!
Gaspeite is considered to be one of the newer gemstones on the market. It was named after the Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec, Canada; the location of where it was first described and discovered in 1977. The discovery of gaspeite is credited to renowned American mineralogists, D.W. Kohls and J.L. Rodda.
The total length of the multi-stone earring from the wire to the end measures 3” inches long.
Native American Artist: Joe Piaso, Jr. with Bilagaanas
The collective of artists at Bilagaanas operate around the vision of creating preeminent quality Native American jewelry.
FEATURED ARTIST: JOE PIASO, JR.
Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico on December 10, 1957, Joe was raised on the Navajo reservation by his grandfather in Canoncito, New Mexico. As a small boy, Joe watched his grandfather make jewelry and this is what first sparked his interest in the art. It wasn’t until Joe was of school age and was sent to Albuquerque Boarding School that he actually began to develop his abilities. He took classes to learn how to silversmith there from a Santa Domingo Indian who greatly inspired him to further his abilities. By the age of thirteen, Joe became skilled enough to make and sell his own jewelry. This gave him a lot of confidence to continue on developing his skills, as well as provided the benefit of extra spending money. After leaving school, Joe met his wife, Melinda, and they had two children, Lyle and Opal. Lyle has taken an interest in silver smithing and Joe has had the great privilege teaching him the art. Joe now continues on into his third decade of silversmithing with
his son, Lyle, working next to him to carry on the tradition.