Forged in an alchemy of shortage and tourism, thunderbird jewelry provided food to Kewa (Santo Domingo) Pueblo families during the Depression.
Precious stones were rare and resourcefulness ruled. So artists turned to garbage-picking old phonograph records and battery casings to create mosaic jewelry to sell to the tourist trade.
The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is showcasing a rare 70-piece collection of that ingenuity in adornment until July 11. The exhibition features necklaces, pendants and earrings donated to the center by Kewa tribal member and jewelry artist Martine Lovato. His wife Rita Levine Lovato collected the jewelry throughout their relationship. Variations include mosaic tab necklaces and free-form contemporary jigsaw inlay, as well as various birds.