Husband and wife, Nick and Me-Wee Rosetta live in Kewa Pueblo, Santo Domingo Pueblo, near Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico. The two collaborate their talents to make striking heishi necklaces and earrings, with their signature liquid silver and natural materials. Both began learning the craft as children. Nick learned from his parents, Ray and Mary Rosetta; Me-Wee learned from her grandfather, Tomasito Tenorio.
The Native American art of heishi dates back centuries in the Southwest. Most closely related to the making and wearing of the small beads and shells are Santo Domingo Pueblo. Traditionally, heishi consists of small discs or tube-shaped beads made of shell and stones and were acquired through trade. This was incorporated into jewelry before the use of silver. The Rosettas use vast stones in their jewelry including turquoise, serpentine, mother of pearl, gaspeite, Italian marble, jet, and even Purple Heart wood and Peruvian Cherry wood.
The process to create these delicate pieces of wearable art, is a tedious one that requires much time and patience. Though they use modern tools, the Rosettas still hand process all of their beads. Nick is mostly responsible for the cutting, grinding, sanding and polishing of the stones, often relying mostly on the “feel” of the beads to create the desired size and shape. Once completed, Me-Wee then hand strings each bead in a stunning display of color and elegance. When making earrings, Nick also incorporates his own skills by polishing and cutting each stone to place in a double sided inlay that makes a statement from the front and back. Amazingly, through all of the various stones, shells and wood, Nick and Me-Wee are able to perfect the balance of placement allowing their pieces to be lightweight and easy to wear. Each piece is unique and tells a beautiful story of tradition.