Simple designs of necklaces made from bone, shell and stone have been found in early archaeological excavations in North America. The early Native Americans mined turquoise and made turquoise beads and turquoise beaded necklaces. Turquoise bead jewelry has been a long tradition in our Native American cultural. With the introduction of silversmithing by the Spanish, our Native Americans combined their skill of stone cutting with their new craft of silver work.
The Santo Domingo Indians have an ancient tradition of jewelry making that can be seen in their turquoise necklaces. The turquoise necklace is the prevailing form of jewelry for the Santo Domingo. These artists are best known for their skill grinding, drilling and stringing heishi beads of shell and turquoise. Their skill in hand rolled beads or rubbed beads in the making of turquoise heishi necklaces is an art for contemporary artists.