Background of Santo Domingo Pueblo, New Mexico
The Santo Domingo pueblo is located just north of Albuquerque in Sandoval
County, New Mexico. Santo Domingo is one of the Rio Grande Pueblos in
Northern New Mexico. Santo Domingo pueblo is about 25 miles south
of Santa Fe. Most of the residents of the pueblo are Native Americans.
The people of Santo Domingo became known for making the best disc
beads and, along with the Zuni people, for producing the best inlay in
turquoise, jet, shell and coral on shell and wood bases. The
jewelers of Santo Domingo still produce the finest hand-made beads and
View our collection
of Santo Domingo Jewelry.
The Artwork of Santo Domingo
Many collectors around the world prize the jewelry of Santo Domingo for
its clean, modern look. In truth, the jewelry produced at Santo Domingo
today is very similar to that produced in the Anasazi Pueblos a thousand
years ago. While contemporary Native American Indian jewelry has
followed many paths, the work most closely linked to the jewelry
creations of ancestral Indians is the stone and shell necklaces,
pendants, rings and bracelets of Santo Domingo New Mexico.
For centuries the Santo Domingo people have been mining turquoise and have
been acquiring turquoise from as far away as Nevada, California and Colorado.
The pueblo jewelers traveled south to the Gulf of Mexico and west to the Pacific
Ocean for shells not available locally.
Santo Domingo necklaces are made of heishi,
discs of shell or turquoise that have been ground, drilled, and strung
to create a beautiful, melodious mix of stones and colors. Santo
Domingo jewelry of heishi, typically shell, turquoise, jet, and other precious
and non-precious materials, is world renowned for its fineness in materials and
What is Heishi
Heishi (hee shee) means shell or shell necklace. Heishi are
pieces of shell that have been drilled and ground down to little beads,
then strung into jewelry. However, in common usage, the word
heishi, also denotes necklaces whose very tiny beads are made of other
natural materials by a similar process.
Authentic handmade heishi is a labor intensive product with a high
value and a justifiable price. Those who truly love this art form
believe that an appreciation of its beauty and worth needs to be