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Santo Domingo Jewelry

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 mosaics. 

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 workmanship. 

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 acquired



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