Two American Treasures

Friday, December 17, 2021 9:17 AM

Two American Treasures

If you have followed our emails for long, you know how we feel about Ray Lovato. This Santo Domingo jeweler is one of the last in that village who still hand grinds turquoise beads to make heishi jewelry.

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Classic Jacla Earrings from Santo Domingo Artist Ray Lovato

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.

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Trading Turquoise with Ray Lovato

Tuesday, June 14, 2016 3:25 PM

Trading Turquoise with Ray Lovato

Ray Lovato is the undisputed master of traditional Santo Domingo hand rolled, natural turquoise heishi. For decades he has worked with the finest natural stones and created beautiful necklaces.

Nearly all of the current heishi makers at the Pueblo now use treated or stabilized stones. Many do wonderful work and the difficulty and cost of obtaining natural turquoise combined with the difficulty of working it, results in the use of treated stones being preferable.

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