Handmade Turquoise heishi is formed by hand on a wheel with diamond dust and formed under water. There are so few Santo Domingo jewelers who still hand drill each stone to create such beautiful pieces of jewelry. Mary Calabaza is truly a one of a kind artist.
Mary Calabaza's specialty is super fine Heishi necklaces. Her and her late husband, Joe, learned to make fine heishi from their grandfather, Patricio Calabaza. “He taught us how to take a simple piece of turquoise, mold it, and create a beautiful necklace. We started making our necklaces with a little heavier texture from turquoise, lapis, shells, coral, and other various stones. As years progressed, and over a long period of time and patience, we learned how to grind our stones to a finer quality. Each piece of necklace has its own special unique quality behind it. We take a lot of pride and joy into our work. This type of art work has been passed down for many generations as we continue to pass it down to our children and grandchildren. It is important to us that we keep our art work alive, because not only does it bring us joy, but it is a part of who we are.”
Joe Calabaza passed away in 2016, we miss his personality and beautiful artistry. Mary Calabaza continues to create beautiful Heishi beads.