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Horse Petroglyph Handmade Necklace Turquoise Shell Southwest Jewelry

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This pewter pendant on this handmade necklace has such a wonderfully rustic appeal to it: a hammered look with etched horse petroglyphs on one side and a Zia inspired spiral on the opposite side. I love the ancient look of the running horse pendant that I decided to name the necklace CABALLOS ANTIQUOS, Spanish for "old horses". The one of a kind (OOAK) necklace definitely has a Southwest feel to and was created with the lead free pewter horse pendant, reconstituted turquoise heishe, oyster shell heishe, black pen shell heishe and sterling silver. A perfect piece of unique jewelry for anyone who loves horses, the Southwest (or both!), the CABALLOS ANTIGUOS necklace was carefully designed and handcrafted by Catherine of Shadow Dog Designs.

Here is the important information for the CABALLOS ANTIGUOS horse petroglyph necklace:

Horse petroglyph pendant: app. 22 mm x 2 mm; lead free pewter; 2-sided
Reconstituted turquoise heishe: app. 5 mm x 3 mm
Oyster shell heishe: app. 5 mm x 3 mm
Black pen shell heishe: app. 5 mm x 3 mm (some a bit smaller, some a bit larger)
Metal: pewter pendant; sterling silver
Clasp: toggle clasp with curved bar; sterling silver
Length: app. 17.75" / 45.1 cm
Pendant drop: app. 1" / 2.54 cm including jump ring bail

The lead free, two-sided pewter pendant was designed and cast by Renee Martig of lead free pewter. The pendant has a rustic, hammered look to it. Two running horses were etched into the front of the pendant - designs that are reminiscent of petroglyph (rock art) found all over the Southwest. The back of the pendant has a Southwest spiral design that may have been inspired by the Zia sun symbol (see photo #3). The pewter had been oxidized and then polished to bring out the etched designs on both sides. Two sterling silver jump rings connect the horse pendant to the main body of the necklace.

In keeping with the Southwest flavor of the pewter horse pendant, I decided to use traditional heishe in three traditional colors. Heishe is a Native American Pueblo term that literally means "shell". Heishe is normally discs or tubes with a hole in the center, usually made from turquoise, coral, shell or other material. The first band of heishe, about 1.5" / 3.8 cm long on either side of the horse pendant, is reconstituted turquoise. Reconstituted turquoise is made from turquoise that is too small to be used for cabochons, beads, or freeform nuggets or is low grade. The stones are ground into a fine powder and then mixed with a binding agent, dyed, compressed into blocks and dried. The blocks can then be cut into shapes to sue for jewelry. The color of the reconstituted heishe is a bluish-green color with brown matrix swirling through some of the stones. Sterling silver 2 mm beads frame the turquoise grouping - then a single white oyster shell heishe, a black pen shell heishe and another white oyster shell heishe, all separated by 2 mm sterling beads.

The next long band of heishe, approximately 1.75" / 4.4 cm, is black pen shell. As you can see in the photos, however, black pen shell is actually a dark brown to medium brown shell - not black at all. There is a litte more variability in the size of the pen shell heishe used but the average size is about 5 mm x 3 mm. Sterling silver 2 mm beads can be found on either end of the black pen shell band. An oyster shell heishe and a black pen shell heishe separates it from the next band of color, the off white oyster shell heishe. The oyster shell heishe adds a touch of light color to the necklace. It runs about 1.5 " / 3.8 cm. After two black pen shell heishe separated by an oyster shell heishe, all spaced by 2 mm sterling beads, another band of reconstituted turquoise heishe was used. It is about 1.25" / 32. cm long. Then the necklace ends in an oyster shell heishe, a black pen shell heishe and another oyster shell heishe, all separated by 2 mm sterling beads.

Sterling silver wire protectors connect the gorgeous toggle clasp to the main body of the necklace with sterling crimp tubes. The crimp tubes were covered by sterling crimp covers to mimic 3 mm silver beads. As you can see in photo #8, the sterling toggle clasp has a small rope design along the outside edge of the ring. The bar is curved to provide more security when put through the toggle clasp ring.

For a better understanding of the relative size of the pendant and heishe used in the CABALLOS ANTIGUOS necklace, please be sure to check out photo #7 for a size comparison with a quarter.

Pewter is believed to be very grounding, bringing the wearer back to reality. Horses are believed to symbolize strength and vitality and the ability to overcome obstacles in life to pursue goals no matter what may stand on the way. Turquoise is believed to be a stone of wholeness, promoting a sense of unity with all that surrounds us. Black Pen Shell is believed to stimulate intuition, sensitivity, imagination and adaptability. Oyster Shell is said to have great protective energies. Silver is a metal of love and healing; it is a mirror to the soul, helping us to see ourselves as others see us.

The CABALLOS ANTIGUOS necklace will come with two informational drop tags: one with the piece's name; the other lists the materials used in the necklace and the language of the stones and metals. It will be carefully packed in an organza jewelry bag, perfect for gift giving to a loved one . . . or to yourself!

***Please be aware that not all computer monitors show colors exactly the same. The colors of the stones are extremely close to the actual color on my monitor. They may appear lighter or darker on yours.

Shadow Dog Designs
Beautifully Unique Handmade Jewelry
for the Discerning Woman


Inspiration/Story Behind This Product

I have a deep love of any kind of petroglyphs and love to search them out no matter where I'm traveling: in Australia, in Europe and here in the desert Southwest. There is something magical about them. When I found the pendant used in the CABALLOS ANTIGUOS necklace, it was the best of both worlds, incorporating horses in a petroglyph style (along with a Zia inspired design on the back). I wanted to keep the design simple so decided to use classic Native American heishe to complement the pendant for a stunning necklace.

Materials Used

pewter horse petroglyph / zia pendant; reconstitutes turquoise heishe; oyster shell heishe; black pen shell heishe; sterling silver 2 mm beads, jump rings, wire protectors, crimp tubes, crimp covers and toggle clasp; 49 strand jewelers wire

More Info

The CABALLOS ANTIGUOS horse petroglyph necklace was carefully handmade in a dog friend;y, smoke free studio (:

Product Attributes

Primary Material: Pewter horse pendant; reconsituted turquoise, shell, sterling silver

Size: 17.75" / 45.1 cm long

Pattern: Petroglyph horse pendant gemstone necklace

Color: Blue


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