During the Depression members of the Santo Domingo Pueblo in New Mexico (frequently misspelled Santa Domingo) created wonderful necklaces from a variety of found materials. As the ultimate recyclers, they often used car battery casings, bakelite or plastic records, natural turquoise, bone, shells, and any other bits of scrap materials that fit their needs. This delightful necklace is made by a member of the pueblo using these types of scrap material.
The necklace measures approximately 23 inches around. A large thunderbird pendant hangs at the midpoint and measures about 1.5 inches long and 1.25 inches wide. Spaced along the length of the necklace are 8 wonderful “beads” representing feathers, each approximately 1 inch long. The backings on the pendant and each feather bead are pieces of black battery casing. The fronts of each bead and the pendant are decorated with red and white materials of unknown origin (probably plastic) with accents made from small pieces of turquoise set into some sort of a matrix. The small tube beads along the length of the piece are made from gypsum a commonly used mineral in this type of necklace. The piece is strung on cotton cord. It does appears that the piece is all original and has never been re-strung. There is no clasp since it was intended for the necklace to be put on by slipping it over the head. It is in very good aged condition with all of the pieces present. Necklaces such as this are highly prized by collectors and have been the subject of much research over the years due to their symbolism and the creative use of discarded items. In recent years a major exhibit of these necklaces was shown at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum in Williamsburg. They seldom come to market but when they do they are usually very expensive.
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