Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Kathy aka Bermuda Onion where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading. Feel free to join in the fun.
TIGER EYES by Judy Blume
heishi - There are delicate silver and turquoise earrings and necklaces, strings of heishi, chunky silver bracelets and rings. (p. 153)
heishi: The literal meaning of heishi is "shell" and specifically refers to pieces of shell which have been drilled and ground into beads and then strung into necklaces. More and more frequently, however, heishi (pronounced hee-shee) has come to refer to hand-made tiny beads made of any natural material.
The origin of heishi is fascinating indeed, and is inescapably linked to the ancient history of the people most proficient in its making, the Santo Domingo and San Felipe Pueblo Indians. It is safe to say that this is the oldest form of jewelry in New Mexico (and perhaps in North America), pre-dating the introduction of metals. Centuries ago, the shells used by the Pueblo Indians to make beads were obtained in trade from the Gulf of California.
When one looks at a string of heishi, the first reaction is frequently "how on earth can a person that?" or "to be so perfect, it must be done by machines." The truth is, if it seems exquisitely perfect, it was most likely made by the hands of a highly-skilled, extremely patient craftsperson. -- The Collector's Guide.com
What new words did you discover this week?