(2) Five strand turquoise and pipestone heishi necklace - 24"
Pipestone (Catlinite).. the claystone (a mass of limestone found in a clay deposit) is soft and easily carved, due to its peculiar composition. Consequently, it is used by the American Indians to make the ceremonial pipes which are an integral part of their religious and civic ceremonies. Because of this specific use, the rock is commonly called "pipestone."
The literal meaning of Heishi is "shell" and specifically refers to pieces of shell, which have been drilled, and ground into beads and then strung into necklaces. More and more frequently, however, heishi (hee-shee) has come to refer to hand-made tiny beads made of any natural material. The origin of heishi is fascinating indeed, and is inescapably linked to the ancient history of the people most proficient in its making, the Santa Domingo Pueblo Indians. It is safe to say that this is the oldest form of jewelry in New Mexico (and perhaps in North American), pre-dating the introduction of metals. Centuries ago, the shells used by the Pueblo Indian to make beads were obtained in trade from the Gulf of California. It will take from 2 days to a week to prepare a single strand of heishi. A string of good heishi will have a uniform consistency. If you gently pull it through your hand, it should feel like a single serpent-like piece. (Note: Precisely because of the handwork involved, a fine string of heishi may contain a lightly flawed or chipped individual bead.) This information is from the Indian Arts & Crafts Association Collector's Guides to Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos.