We have just posted a classic, vintage, Native American Santo Domingo Pueblo thunderbird necklace to eBay.
This necklace, which actually will not be posted until 5:45 tonight, is an excellent example of the work done by Santo Domingo women during and immediately after the Depression (ca 1930s-50s).
Since natural materials were hard to come by in the existing economic circumstances, the makers salvaged black composite from discarded auto batteries, phonograph records, broken bakelite shards, gypsum, colored plastic from combs and restaurant spoons and forks, and combined the materials with a mosaic inlay* of turquoise chips.
*In fact, it would be more apt to describe the mosaic as overlay since it was glued over the backing rather than inlaid into it.
These pieces were sold to travelers on the Santa Fe Railway when the trains stopped along the way in New Mexico. Original prices were as low as $1.
The Santo Domingo Pueblo is located just south of Santa Fe and may be accessed from Interstate 25. Today, it looks very much like it did back in the Depression days, except with newer model cars and upgraded homes. Today, however, Santo Domingo artists are doing spectacular jewelry work with finely cut and polished heishi, superb silversmithing and very detailed inlay of many natural materials, from turquoise to oyster shell.
Examples of contemporary Santo Domingo jewelry can be found at our Native-JewelryLink web site. Simply enter the search term Santo Domingo in the internal search engine, or click here for a singularly beautiful example.
The old depression-era thunderbird necklace is one of several we have collected. They will eventually be offered for sale. Watch this space, as they say, for more news.
Authored by William Ernest Waites, co-proprietor of TribalWorks.com, offering fine tribal art from Africa, Australia and the Arctic, and Navajo folk art; ZuniLink.com, featuring authentic Zuni, Cochiti, Navajo and San Felipe carvings; Native-PotteryLink.com, home to a wide range of excellent Native American collector pottery and Native-JewelryLink.com