Large Silver Coral Cross Pendant
Large Silver Coral Cross Pendant handmade by Zuni artist Albert Jake. This striking piece of wearable art features 6 pieces of Mediterranean coral set in sterling silver. The cross measures 3 1/2″ inches long by 3″ inches wide. The bail will fit over 16mm size beads.
History of Coral
Red coral (Corallium Rubrum) comes from certain areas, such as the Mediterranean, where the specific water temperature and conditions allow coral to thrive. Coral is a hardened tube or branch. Only about 10% of coral is considered jewelry quality. Although coral has been used by Stone Age peoples as long as 30,000 years ago to decorate sepulchers (burial vaults), Native American artists have only used coral for the last 600 years.
When Europeans arrived in the New World, they brought with them “blood coral” from the waters of Spain and Italy.
Santo Domingo peoples first used coral in necklaces, as wampum (trade beads). The Hopi and Zuni strung coral beads alternating with other beads such as jet, turquoise and spiny oyster for dances and ceremonies.
Trade Roots Native American Artist: Albert Jake
Albert Jake was born in 1959 in the Zuni Pueblo south of Gallup, New Mexico. Albert learned the art of silversmithing from his parents and began making jewelry in 1987. He specializes in traditional set stones and cluster jewelry with intricate stamp work. He is renowned for the precise detail and execution of his work, and for the fine natural stones that he uses in his pieces. A man of many talents, he is also a sand painter and a potter.
The Trade Roots Collection is the creation and vision of Jeffrey Lewis, founder and owner since 1970. Lewis has a personal commitment towards preserving and revitalizing Native American trade and tradition in the Southwest. Trade Roots has grown and flourished from that same commitment. In the early years, Lewis spent much time in the Lacandon Rain Forest, collecting molted Macaw parrot feathers for use in Zuni and Hopi ceremonial costumes. Later, he began traveling the world, securing supplies of exotic shell and stone. Trade Roots was able to consistently bring pearl shell from the South Pacific, coral from the Mediterranean, amber from Chiapas, Mexico and the Baltic Sea, rhodochroscite, lapis lazuli, sugilite, turquoise, variscite, fossil ivory, labradorite, azurite and many other exotic materials all to be used by Native Americans for jewelry-making and fetish carving. Today, Lewis has these same rare and exotic materials handmade into beads. Each creation is unique and has a timeless feeling that always brings joy to the wearer.