Nick and Me-Wee Rosetta

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Nick and Me-Wee Rosetta

Husband and wife, Nick and Me-Wee Rosetta, are both from the Santo Domingo Pueblo. Their pueblo is halfway between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico. They are known for their liquid silver, gold necklaces, and small bead heishi necklaces all using natural material. Nick and Me-Wee’s hallmark is “NMR”, which are the first initials of their names and last name. 

As in prehistoric times, when pueblo peoples obtained their materials by means of a vast trade network, the Rosettas also obtain their materials from many different places.  Their turquoise is purchased from mines in Arizona and Nevada, they get serpentine from Custer, South Dakota, and their pipestone from Pipestone, Minnesota.  Given the chance, they will gather the raw material themselves from all over the world; some necklaces contain materials from Australia, Peru, and Canada.

Me-wee learned her craft from her grandfather Tomasito Tenorio.  Nick learned his craft from his parents, Ray and Mary Rosetta, who were the first to make liquid silver in the early 70’s. There are many jewelry artists in the Rosetta family, including Nick’s brother, Johnny Rosetta, who is well known for his work.

Though they use modern tools, the Rosettas continue to make by laborious hand processes all of their beads - stone, shell, and silver.  Nick does most of the lapidary work - cutting, grinding, sanding, and polishing. Handmade liquid silver is all hand-drawn and hand-cut, meaning that each bead is pulled through a draw plate until it’s the right size. Nick offers a hint for distinguishing hand-drawn liquid silver from machine-made: handmade liquid silver has a small line in each bead where the silver comes together.  Me-Wee does the stringing of the beads on fine wire, often with stunningly imaginative effects.