New Life for a Cracked Turquoise Stone Bracelet

The estate lots we purchase commonly contain at least a couple of damaged vintage pieces. We have the choice of selling them AS-IS, with extensive tarnish or soil, silver damage, a missing stone, a loose stone, a cracked stone……OR we can have the item repaired so the piece can be used again ! When I see a beautifully crafted necklace, ring or bracelet that would otherwise be tossed in a box to be forgotten, I do whatever I can to help revive the piece.

This beautiful bracelet hallmarked LESTER ORTIZ  and STERLING

weighs 89 grams and is 2 3/8″ tall at the front.

The gorgeous green turquoise stone (I’ll let you ponder the mine – please put your guesses in the comments below) was too good to toss.

I sent this bracelet to Diane at Old Town (see contact information below) who coordinates the work for the Navajo silversmiths there. Henry waved his magic wand over this one and turned it from trash to treasure !  Thank you Henry !!!!












The repair service we use:

Diane Radeke
P. O. Box 55935
Phoenix, AZ  85078


Jacla, Jackla, Jocla………No matter how you spell it, what is it?

A traditional Pueblo jewelry adornment, a jacla is two loops of heishi that were originally earrings and sometimes fastened to the bottom of a stone necklace as a pendant-like attachment.

Jacla is Navajo for “ear string”. The Navajo spelling is the most commonly used version of the word. Jocla is also common but jackla is a phonetic mis-spelling. Although jaclas are attributed to the Rio Grande Pueblo Indians, they were traded with other tribes so have become associated with the Navajo as well. They are seen in vintage photos being worn by members of all southwest tribes, both men and women.

In the oldest style necklaces, the jacla is a pair of loop earrings tied onto the necklace.

N200-jacla-turq-nugget-2The two loops would be removed from the necklace and used as earrings.   This is how the jacla originated. This necklace is likely from 1910-1920.


I can picture a pre-European-contact Rio Grande Puebloan taking his or her jewelry off and storing it that way. And sometimes when not wanting to wear earrings, just leaving the jacla on the necklace as a pendant.

The jacla might match the necklace it is attached to or be of contrasting heishi. Most jaclas have tabular pieces in the bottom center that are called “corn”. They are most often made from white or orange (spiny oyster) shell or coral. According to Mark Bahti, author of Collecting Southwestern Native American jewelery, jaclas with spiny oyster shell corn are rarely seen and highly prized by many Indians.


The tips of the jacla loops are traditionally finished off with coral, a contrasting shell or trade beads, often red.


In the early 20th century, jaclas started to be incorporated into part of the necklace, so this necklace would have likely been made after 1920, likely in the 50s.


Contemporary artists use the jacla design in many ways such as this block turquoise jacla necklace with spiny oyster corn.


And here’s one in very fine heishi from Santo Domingo artist Paul Tenorio

NH893-5-strand-jacla-ortiz-2 NH893-5-strand-jacla-ortiz-3

Loop earrings are basically a miniature version of a jacla – they are made with and without corn.


Food and Clothes of Ancient Pueblos

Hello Paula,

Could you please explain what the Pueblo people eat and how it was cooked and served.Also clothes the women and the men wore. I have always been intrigued with the Native Americans.

Hi Rita,

Thank you for your question. I suggest the library or bookstore to find the answer to your questions about the lifestyle of the ancient Pueblo Indians.

To get you started, here is a brief discussion of the use of the word pueblo.

What does pueblo mean?

Santo Domingo Pueblo Heishi


Native American Terms – What does Pueblo Mean?

Hi Paula,

I’m confused about the meaning of the word pueblo and wonder if you can clear it up for me. Thank you,


Hi Paul,

I can see why. The meaning of the word in the Native American sense has several layers, all somewhat distinct yet related.

The general definition for pueblo is community.

In Spanish pueblo means a village or town.

In Native American usage, pueblo has more specific meanings:

* There is the Pueblo culture, the people themselves, the Pueblos.

* There are the various Pueblos, or communities.

* There are buildings called pueblos.


The Pueblos are Native Americans from the Southwest US. Historically they have been farmers and traders. In the 16th century, Spanish explorers encountered the Pueblos living in small villages.


Today there are 21 individual Pueblos (see list below). Some of the most familiar are Zuni, Taos, Hopi, Santo Domingo, Acoma and Isleta. They are located in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Previously there were pueblos in Colorado such as the Anasazi cliff pueblos at Mesa Verde. The inhabitants of the Southwest Pueblos are thought to be descendants of the Anasazi cliff dwellers.

Today’s 21 Federally Recognized Pueblos

* Hopi Tribe of Arizona

* Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, New Mexico

* Pueblo of Acoma, New Mexico

* Pueblo of Cochiti, New Mexico

* Pueblo of Jemez, New Mexico

* Pueblo of Isleta, New Mexico

* Pueblo of Laguna, New Mexico

* Pueblo of Nambe, New Mexico

* Pueblo of Picuris, New Mexico

* Pueblo of Pojoaque, New Mexico

* Pueblo of San Felipe, New Mexico

* Pueblo of San Ildefonso, New Mexico

* Pueblo of Sandia, New Mexico

* Pueblo of Santa Ana, New Mexico

* Pueblo of Santa Clara, New Mexico

* Pueblo of Santo Domingo, New Mexico

* Pueblo of Taos, New Mexico

* Pueblo of Tesuque, New Mexico

* Pueblo of Zia, New Mexico

* Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo of Texas

* Zuni Tribe of the Zuni Reservation, New Mexico

Examples of some Native American pieces from some of the pueblos above:

10-Strand Coral and Turquoise Heishi Necklace by Frank Ortiz, San Felipe Pueblo

5-Strand Turquoise Spirit Necklace by Doris Coriz, Santo Domingo Pueblo

Turquoise Petit Point Cluster Pin Pendant by Kevin Quam, Zuni

Sterling Silver Kokopelli Belt Buckle by Steven Sockyma, Hopi


Pueblo also refers to a stone or adobe communal building – one that houses multiple families and is for use by other members of the community. The apartment-like structures were/are multi-level with ladder access.  Pueblos often had a common courtyard or plaza.


Native American Jewelry Materials – Coral History

Do you know how far back the use of coral by native Americans dates? I am thinking they would have acquired it by trade, though I don’t know from whom. Kathleen

Good question. Red coral (Corallium Rubrum) comes from certain areas, such as the Mediterranean, where the specific water temperature and conditions allow coral to thrive. Coral is a hardened tube or branch. Only about 10% of coral is considered jewelry quality.

Santo Domingo Branch Coral Necklace by James and Doris Coriz

Santo Domingo Branch Coral Necklace by James and Doris Coriz

Coral comes in shades from blood-red to orange to pink to white.

Vintage Native American Orange Coral Cluster Bracelet

Vintage Native American Orange Coral Cluster Bracelet

Although coral has been used by Stone Age peoples as long as 30,000 years ago to decorate sepulchers (burial vaults), Native American artists have only used coral for the last 600 years.

When Europeans arrived in the New World, they brought with them “blood coral” from the waters of Spain and Italy.

Santo Domingo peoples first used coral in necklaces, as wampum (trade beads). The Hopi and Zuni strung coral beads alternating with other beads such as jet, turquoise and spiny oyster for dances and ceremonies.

Coral Treasure Necklace by Navajo Tommy Singer

Coral Treasure Necklace by Navajo Tommy Singer

Later silversmiths cut coral into pieces to set into rings, bracelets, belts, buckles, pendants and earrings.

Vintage Turquoise and Coral Native American Pendant

Vintage Turquoise and Coral Native American Pendant

Coral is often called “red gold” by some artists and the bright red Mediterranean coral is rare today.   Here is an example of a vintage bolo tie with some really nice pieces of coral and below the bolo is a highly collectible set of inlay by Paula Panteah.

Vintage Navajo Bolo Tie

Vintage Navajo Bolo Tie

Vintage Inlay Bracelet by Zuni artist Paula Panteah

Vintage Inlay Bracelet by Zuni artist Paula Panteah

Because Mediterranean red coral is very rare today, bamboo coral, family Isididae, which is another type of branch coral, and yellowish tan in color, is often dyed red and used in Santo Domingo, San Felipe and Navajo multi-strand coral necklaces.

10 strand coral necklace by San Felipe artist Frank Ortiz

10 strand coral necklace by San Felipe artist Frank Ortiz

Coral beads symbolize success and social prominence.

10 strand Coral and Turquoise Necklace by San Felipe artist Frank Ortiz

10 strand Coral and Turquoise Necklace by San Felipe artist Frank Ortiz

Read more about coral in my previous post.