Native American Materials – Spiny Oyster

Spiny Oyster and Turquoise Naja with 3 Strand Necklace

Spiny Oyster and Turquoise Naja with 3 Strand Necklace

Sometimes people describe a Native American piece as having spiny oyster stones – similar to saying erroneously that a piece has “coral stones”.

About Coral

Coral History

Although spiny oyster is is durable, it is not a stone. It is a shell.

Navajo Spiny Oyster Pendant

Navajo Spiny Oyster Pendant

Spiny oyster, not surprisingly, is a shell (spondylus) that is covered with spines. It is found along the Pacific coast of Baja California and Baja Mexico.

Spondylus_princeps

It varies from vibrant red shading into oranges and purples, with definite striations and variation of the colors. Red spiny oyster has been used as a substitute for coral.

 

Santo Domingo Spiny Oyster Necklace

Santo Domingo Spiny Oyster Necklace

 

Santo Domingo Rouge Spiny Oyster Necklace

Santo Domingo Rouge Spiny Oyster Necklace

Right now the orange spiny oyster beads and inlays are hot, hot, hot, so I thought you’d enjoy seeing some of the many variations of this beautiful natural material.

 

Sterling Silver Navajo Spiny Oyster Cross

Sterling Silver Navajo Spiny Oyster Cross

Inlay with spiny oyster can be smooth and sleek or chunky cobblestone. Here is one example of each.

Navajo Sterling Silver Inlay Horse Head

Navajo Sterling Silver Inlay Horse Head

Spiny Oyster Cobblestone Inlay Navajo Bear

Spiny Oyster Cobblestone Inlay Navajo Bear

As if the orange wasn’t beautiful enough, spiny oyster comes in all shades or reds and purples – something for everyone’s taste! Here are a few examples.

Purple Spiny Oyster Treasure Necklace by Navajo Tommy Singer

Purple Spiny Oyster Treasure Necklace by Navajo Tommy Singer

Santo Domingo Red Spiny Oyster Necklace

Santo Domingo Red Spiny Oyster Necklace

Watch our new page where you will see some other beautiful spiny oyster items added later this week.

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