This piece of jewelry was carved from 3 quahog or wampum clam shells, to provide the "dancing" movement, and to obtain the best color gradations. Turquoise was used for the buyers connection to the south west. A similar piece was a dancing Kokopelli.
You can have almost any animal or insect designed and carved from wampum shell, or select woods. They can also be made in other materials, such as select woods and/or metals including gold.
This was a custom order, but sometimes on the PowWow and Rendezvous trail people go missing before something is finished. That is what happened. I later added to a group website, and it sold very quickly.
The Thunderbird is similar to the Phoenix, in that it consumes itself in flame and rises from its own ashes.
Kokopelli is the fertility symbol personified by a flute playing grasshopper.