Five Tab Wampum Necklace

Availability: In stock
Made in the USA

Five Tab Wampum Necklace

  • 8" Heishi Wampum (Quahog Shell) Necklace
  • Five distinctively designed 2" tabs
  • Each tab bares Mary's signature hallmark on the reverse side
  • Signature upon delivery required for this exclusive item.


Mary Louise Tafoya

Santo Domingo / Kewa Pueblo


Mary Louise Tafoya is from Santo Domingo Pueblo, New Mexico (now known by its traditional name, Kewa)

Although she comes from a traditional Pueblo using an ancient "heishi" art form, Mary has gifted the jewelry world with her contemporary visions. She is one of nine children born to talented jewelry artists, Frank and Anita Coriz. As a young girl, Mary helped her family string what is called "Depression Era" Santo Domingo pieces. 

For hundreds of years craftspeople at Kewa Pueblo were known for exquisite shell, turquoise, and jet jewelry that they made and traded throughout the Southwest, but by the 1920's these traditional materials were scarce. Lacking the access to more natural materials to craft jewelry, jewelry makers would search for bits and pieces of battery cases, dishes, toothbrushes, phonograph records, and fashionably recycle them into traditional looking pieces. From this grew Mary's unique style. 

In addition to her matchless mosaic inlay designs, Mary creates her hand rolled heishi beads. "Heishi" comes from the Kewa word meaning "shell." These heishi necklaces involve cutting stones or shells into square tabs, drilling holes (with a cactus spear in traditional times, but later a pump drill), stringing them on cotton or fiber settings, and rolling the squares against a rough surface (today a grinding wheel) until they slowly become round beads.