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:: Ceremonial ::

A truly tribal piece that feels like it was created for an ancient ritual, this oversized necklace features some gorgeous ethnographic components and fossil materials.

The centerpiece is an old Naga conch shell pendant from tribal India. This is the kind of piece I've admired in coffee table art books for over 30 years, from way back when I was primarily a painter, and I'm honored to be able to incorporate one into my own work. It has a sensuous matte surface and soft edges that show that it was originally worn in tribal jewelry, and the strong, graceful shape is a real show-stopper.

When I build a piece like this, I take a long time looking through many, many components to find the ones that are the best possible complements to the focal piece. With this one, I chose a disc of African bone to go directly above the conch. Above that is an artifact fragment made of polished oosik (walrus baculum) from St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. It's very old, in the hundreds of years, most likely. Next I wove in a fossilized turtle shell scute which dates back to the Paleolithic, along with a fish vertebra from the same era. Both of these mineralized pieces are relatively fragile, which is why they have been placed in a protected area and are woven securely into the strand. Lastly is a wabi bronze tube bead of my own manufacture, stabilized with two African forged iron beads inside, and a leather wrap above and below.

I chose an extra heavy woven cord of warm golden ochre nylon to provide a soft, flexible and secure attachment for these valuable components. Weaving in elements like these can be tricky and it's time consuming, but well worth it...and it also gives the piece a more organic, ancient feeling.

The cord is heavy 6mm leather. In the back, a toggle closure was made of spliced and wrapped leather and a piece of fossil walrus ivory.

After I'd assembled this, I realized that all of the pieces relate to one of two themes: protection or essence. The shells are an animal's protective home. Bone and ivory is a symbol of the essential, indestructible self--the spirit or soul--the world over. And bronze is the hardest and most impenetrable of all the metals I work with. Together they present a strong talisman of protection that rests directly over your heart and reminds you of your essence and core strength.

Size: 44cm from the nape of the neck to the base of the Naga shell. The leather cord (fastened) is 53cm long. The pendant assemblage is 20cm x 7cm.

Care: This piece should not be washed. Wipe clean with a damp cloth only. Protect the fossil shell, vertebra and Naga shell from impacts. Handle the leather cord closures gently and you will enjoy years of wear.

Ceremonial will arrive beautifully giftwrapped in a hand-decorated box, along with a handwritten description.

Bold Tribal Ethnographic Necklace with Fossils on Leather Cord


  • Handmade item
  • Materials: shell, bone, oosik, leather, bronze, fossil ivory, fossil turtle shell, fossil vertabra, iron, nylon cord
  • Ships worldwide from New Mexico, United States
  • Feedback: 585 reviews
  • Favorited by: 42 people