The Totem Post

The Totem Post
A unique jewelry and gift shop with gifts from around the world.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Santo Domingo Jewelry

The jewelry of the Santo Domingo tribe is, for the most part, a continuation of traditional and ancestral design and technique. Long ago metal was not easily obtained, so jewelry was made of the natural elements which were found nearby or could be traded for. The Santo Domingo today use primarily stone and shell with very little use of silver. Sometimes a backing is chosen - shell, or in the past records, combs or car battery pieces - and then a mosaic design is is inlaid on top. It is often very colorful and abstract.

This tribe also makes "heishi", which is a string of hand ground stone used for necklaces and earrings. The small stone pieces are drilled and strung and then rolled to grind them down smoothly. The result is a string of stone that feels smooth like a snake's belly. When heishi is made this way, each bead fits perfectly with the one next to it. If the string is broken, it may never have the smooth feel it did when it was made.

There is something almost magical and ancient about this type of jewelry. To know that people hundreds of years ago wore this same style of jewelry and that today it still is beautiful and desired is amazing. Wearing it makes you feel you are a part of days gone by.