Jacla is a Navajo word for “ear string.” Jacla’s are traditionally made with turquoise “heishi” which is essentially flat turquoise beads, hand ground and strung in strands, which were worn by Native people as far back as the Anasazi or “Ancestral Puebloans” as they are recognized as today.
The jacla consists of a short strand of turquoise heishi with a shell at the bottom. These were nearly always made in pairs and worn as earrings. As silver earrings began to come into use, the Indians began to tie the jaclas onto the bottom of their longer heishi necklaces, as additional adornments.
Although the Pueblo Indians were the makers of this type of jewelry, they were traded and sold throughout the Southwest and became standard jewelry for the Navajo, Apache and other tribes.
Ray Lovato, one of the last Santo Domingo artists to use natural turquoise in his heishi, was in the gallery for a visit last week and brought in a group of hand rolled, natural turquoise jacla earrings. These are gorgeous strands of turquoise and really unique. And, he put silver cones and wires on the ends as a compromise to modern life so you don’t have to tie them on your ears with the string like they did in the old days!
These are classic looking earrings that will look fabulous with an evening dress or blue jeans. And, you’ll have an example of jewelry made by Ray Lovato, a real American treasure.
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