Santo Domingo Jewelry Collaborative Lorenzo-Mary Tafoya Turquoise Lizard Necklace


Santo Domingo Jewelry Collaborative Lorenzo-Mary Tafoya Turquoise Lizard Necklace

Mary Tafoya creates innovative designs in mosaic which sets her apart from most other Santo Domingo pueblo artists. Lorenzo often helps Mary with her work, and creates work of his own as well. This striking necklace is a collaboration between the two. To their more typical beaded necklaces, Lorenzo has added sterling silver lizards inlaid with turquoise.

This is a two strand necklace of graduated turquoise beads, with one strand longer than the second. Three inlaid sterling silver lizards, one large and two smaller ones, climbing both strands. Each strand has corn beads as centerpieces.

Lizards are a common sight in the southwestern U.S., and are also a common theme in jewelry and artwork. Lorenzo wrote the following about lizards: “The lizard in some southwest cultures is a symbol of regeneration and rebirth: ability to make dreams come true; and healing abilities. I think of them as a symbol of happiness and independence as we see them all over in the springtime and summers.”

Longer strand is 23 3/4 inches. Surrounding the clasp, tiny shell heishi beads and turquoise barrel beads complete the design.

Out of stock

Santo Domingo Jewelry Collaborative Lorenzo-Mary Tafoya Turquoise Lizard Necklace

Lorenzo and Mary Tafoya

Mary and Lorenzo Tafoya, Kewa Pueblo

See Mary and Lorenzo Tafoya’s work here.

Artist’s statement: “Growing up in a traditional family in Santo Domingo Pueblo, the last thing on my mind was that my art would allow me to travel to a great part of the United States, much less have my jewelry designs in demand at galleries and art shows!

I have employed skills acquired helping my parents stringing, designing traditional Santo Domingo jewelry. Remember the old style Thunderbird necklaces inlaid on batttery casings or records, being sold along highways or on the plaza in Santa Fe? Those are the inspiration for my art.

My jewelry has evolved from traditional Santo Domingo turquoise “heishi” and “Depression Era” work to a modern, contemporary, mosaic, multi-colored inlay jewelry, that is versatile for formal and casual wear. Using natural stones, shells, and turquoise, my designs are free-form inlay where no two pieces of inlay are alike, as each stone or shell is cut to fit a design right out of my memory. I try to find different types and colors of stones, unusual shapes of shell, cutting them at different angles to get the desired look. Lately, I had used silver filings to create a “glitter” effect to many pieces Sometimes I do not know what each piece will look like until is finished.

My pieces have fooled many of my customers and even seasoned art collectors into asking “How dis you paint these designs?” When told that these are the natural colors of my material and how they are intricately inlaid, they are amazed by the detail in my work. The patience required by my parents when I helped with the family jewelry production has helped me with numerous design ideas.

I currently live on the Santo Domingo Pueblo with my husband, Lorenzo (also a jeweler/metalsmith) and four children. Our studio/workshop is behind the house and we have had many of our customers tour the facility to see the materials, tools, and equipment we use in our work. We love showing people our studio, as it gives them the perspective of the work and a deeper appreciation of it.”

Mary Tafoya, Santo Domingo Pueblo

We at Home & Away Gallery consider ourselves to be extremely fortunate to have come across Mary Tafoya’s inlay necklaces, earrings, and pins. While we admire many Santo Domingo artists, Tafoya’s sense of color and design are very painterly, and are distinct from all other Santo Domingo work we have seen. We are honored to carry her work.

Weight 2 lbs
Dimensions 10 × 8 × 4 in
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