These turquoise earrings are cut from slabs of gemstone and are a fairly recent addition to the Santo Domingo creative repertoire. They could not have been made without modern technology because they require large slabes of gemstone that must be stabilized for strength.
The techniques and designs that make Lester's turquoise slab earrings so unmistakable have been passed down in his family. Today, he uses those time-honored methods in conjunction with modern knowledge and tools to create wonderful pieces of jewelry.
The Santo Domingo Pueblo Indians are known world wide for their talents as lapidary artists. Bead making is a timeless art form that has changed little over the years. Before the arrival of the Spaniards, the Santo Domingo people actively mined turquoise from what is now the Cerrillos Mine, and made turquoise necklaces which were used for trading between tribes. Each bead is entirely cut, shaped, drilled and polished by hand. Even today, many of the village's people make all or part of their livelihood by making jewelry, pottery, and beaded art work.
The Abeyta Family and Priscilla Nieto live in the Santo Domingo Pueblo located in New Mexico. They are respected artists, whose work appears in many galleries and museums across the United States. They also show annually at the Santa Fe Indian Market.