This shell pendant is inspired by the ancient Hohokam culture that thrived here in Arizona. The Hohokam lived in the Tucson and Phoenix basin between A.D. 450 and A.D. 1450. This culture was famous for an extensive shell jewelry trade throughout the southwest. They established extensive trade routes with southern California and Baja Mexico to supply themselves with numerous types of shell. The shells that were sought after were glycymeris, (bittersweet clam), Laevicardium elatum shell (commonly called the giant egg cockle), Olivella dama shells (commonly called olive shells), and Spondylus shell to name a few. The shells were fashioned into numerous types of jewelry such as bracelets, pendants, and rings. The Hohokam were not only recognized for their shell trade but how they worked the shells. What stands out is the use of a mild acid to etch shells with unique designs. It is thought that the Hohokam may have used a mild acid made from fermented saguaro fruit juice for this process. A resistant substance, such as a pitch from the mesquite or the lac from the creosote, was used to coat a design or placed around a design on the shell. The shell was then placed in the acid to be etched. The area that was not protected by the pitch or lac was etched. After the shell was etched, it was removed from the mild acid and the resistant substance removed. I use a similar process to etch and antique each of the shells in my pendants. I also use some of the same material that were available to the Hohokam, such as turquoise, black jet, pipestone, conus shell, and glycemeris shell, to name a few. The designs on the shells are from Hohokam petroglyph locations and pottery designs that were found here in Arizona. Each of the focal shells are natural glycymeris shells that are etched and polished by me, all of them vary and none of them are the same.
This necklace has: Acid Etched Glycymeris Shell, Arizona Green Kingman Turquoise, Arizona Blue Kingman Turquoise, Mother Of Pearl, White Dentalium Shell End Caps. The width of the heishe beads are approximately 4.5 mm.
The main focal glycymeris shell is approximately 45.00 mm x 43.00 mm,(1 3/4″ x 1 3/4″) and has a stylized Hohokam pottery design.
The length of the necklace including the shell is 22 inches. The necklace also has a sterling silver hook and eye clasp with a 2 inch extension chain.