Ramona Bird of Santo Domingo Pueblo has become well-renowned in her own right for learning and carrying on the heishi making tradition of her mother Josephine Coriz. She is best known for her fine heishi necklaces made from baby olive shell.
The unique process of preparing the baby olive shell heishi involves "roasting" these fine beads to get shades of light brown and white. The tiny heishi beads are heated over a flame on a sheet of metal and the more they are heated, the lighter they become in color. Many of her necklaces exhibit a gradation of color from the dark brown "raw" baby olive shell to light brown, tan and finally creamy white and snow white beads.
This ten-strand choker-length necklace of fine heishi consists of "lightly roasted" baby olive shell heishi. The necklace terminates in Sterling cones at the catch. As you can see from the detailed photos, there's a little bit of brown to very light tan in this strand; overall, the color approximates café au lait. Ramona strung a few beads of Kingman turquoise among this heishi so that the necklace seems "sprinkled" with blue.
Baby olive shell heishi: 1/32" running length; about 1/16" diameter
Length: 17 1/2"