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Santo Domingo Turquoise and Sterling Bead Necklace
This beautiful turquoise bead necklace is Native American in origin with the turquoise beads most likely originating from the Santo Domingo pueblo, as the pueblo was known for its heishe(i) style turquoise beads and shell beads. The necklace is from the 1950's era, from a Westbrook, Maine estate, and most likely the turquoise came from the Los Cerrillos mine which was close to the pueblo (Adair, John p. 15). The beads were often traded to the Navajo so the necklace itself with the silver beads at the end could certainly be of Navajo origin without the jaclas or jatlas that the Navajo sometimes attached and used as earrings. So without the jaclas, the necklace itself could be totally of Santo Domingo origin. The turquoise beads are beautifully matched in size on each side of the necklace as are the silver beads which are most likely sterling but not tested. I did not want to damage this vintage necklace in any way through testing! The true colors of the turquoise can be see in the photos against the white background while the black was used to show how beautifully the necklace draped. A flash was used on the black and so the true colors do not show in the photo. The necklace is 18" long from end to end, and the beads are strung on twisted cotton which was probably waxed. The cotton has stretched over the years as can be seen in the photos, but how wonderful to have the necklace all original! If you intend to wear the necklace, I would have it restrung, though there is no evidence that it has frayed. It is too wonderful a piece to take a chance. If you decide to use it for display only, then keeping it all original is the best. The largest of the turquoise beads measure 11mm in diameter and are thick, as they have been hand carved and are not exactly the same in thickness. I have tried to show enough of them to give you an idea of the color and size as they graduate toward the silver beads. The necklace ends with 9 silver beads on each side each measuring 7mm in diameter and ends with the handmade hook and eye clasp. The weight of the necklace is 46.3 grams on my jewelry scale. If you love vintage Native American jewelry, this necklace would make an important addition to your collection.
Gender: Female, Age Group: Adult, Color: turquoise/silver, Size: See description for sizes
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Dale King, Sebago Lakes Region, ME
Specializing in Jewelry, both fine and costume, Vanity Items and Collectibles of all types.
Visit me at Gurley's Antique Gallery on Route 1 in in Scarborough, Maine when you are in Maine on vacation!