This vintage, 1950’s Santo Domingo pendant is a charming example of the skill, ingenuity and mythology of the Santo Domingo Pueblo people. This work is considered part of the great tradition of American Folk Art.
In the 1920’s and 30’s, the American Southwest was becoming a popular holiday destination. The Santo Domingo people hoped to capitalize by making jewellery that would appeal to these tourists.
But during the Depression, they had to look for less expensive raw materials. So they made delightful jewellery from a variety of found materials. They were clever re-cyclers, using Bakelite or plastic records, bone, shells and bits of turquoise. Though the. materials are ordinary, the craftsmanship is evident. Tiny bits of coral, turquoise and plastic have been superimposed on black plastic background, fit together by hand.
This particular pendant is based on the “Dream Catcher” legend. It is one of the wonderful stories in Native American mythology. It was thought that both good and bad dreams circulated in the night air. When the dream catcher is hung above the place where you sleep, it catches the dreams that drift by. The good dreams pass through the opening in the centre of the webbing, while the bad dreams are caught in the webbing and destroyed at the first light of the morning sun.
The white and red materials are Bakelite but the turquoise fragments are the genuine stone still available to the artists. Then the design was superimposed on a black plastic backing, possibly from an old record. The pendant is 1 ½ inches across (4 cm).
It hangs on a silver 9-inch chain (which means 18 inches of silver chain. With the pendant, the necklace is 10 ¾ inches long (27 cm).
The necklace comes, like all my necklaces, with its own colour co-ordinated silk brocaded pouch bag, made by a Shanghai tailor.
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Unique, stunningly chic gemstone necklaces, known as wearable art
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