How did they make wampum beads?
A stone or reed drill was used to create a hole in the block. The block would be drilled half way through and then turned over to drill through the other side. The blocks were then ground into tubular shapes by rolling or rubbing them against a stone. Finished beads were then strung on plant fibers or sinew.
What is wampum jewelry?
It addressed non-Native people making jewelry and crafts with quahog shells and calling it “wampum.” Wampum refers specifically to jewelry, beads, and crafts made by Native people, a fact that I am embarrassed to say I did not know.
How is wampum jewelry made?
Most shells only have a narrow strip that can be used to make a wampum bead. Once the clam shell is cleaned and dried the beadmaker breaks the shell into pieces with a hammer or pliers. It is important not to breathe in the toxic dust from the shell. Then the piece is given a shape and a hole is drilled into it.
What does wampum symbolize?
It still symbolizes an agreement of mutual respect and peace between the Haudenosaunee and European newcomers (initially the Dutch) to North America. The principles were embodied in the belt by virtue of its design: two rows of purple wampum beads on a background of white beads represent a canoe and a European ship.
What is wampum worth?
Today, wampum is once more considered to have a high value but only as an artifact to the right buyer. Though many times the artifacts are given back to the tribe or donated to museums, there are some dealers who have been known to sell a band of 10 or more linked strings for up to $2,200.
Where is wampum found?
The channeled whelk and the hard clam, also known as the quahog, are rightfully adored by beachcombers for their beautiful white and purple shells, respectively. Found only on the east coast of North America, their relative rarity also makes them an attractive find.
How do you shine wampum?
Should you find that your Wampum is losing its lustre, it is likely becoming coated with dirt or oils from your skin, the air, and the environment. To bring your piece back to its true shine, you can either wash it gently with a mild dish soap or hand soap, or better yet, use a sterling silver polishing cloth.
Why is wampum purple and white?
The process of making the wampum beads is arduous. Once acquired, the shell was broken into white or purple cubes. White wampum signifying peace while purple relates messages of more serious or political matters. The cubes were clamped and a stone or reed drill was used to bore into the cube.
What Indian tribes used wampum?
Wampum was first used by the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) people, a confederacy of several tribal nations; Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca, and later the Tuscarora.
What was the first wampum?
Wampum was white or purple beads and discs fashioned from two shells: the white beads from the whelk, a sea snail with a spiral shape, and the quahog, a clam with purple and white coloring. Quahogs are found in the waters from Cape Cod south to New York, with a great abundance in Long Island Sound.
How do you clean wampum?
Is wampum still used today?
To this day wampum is still used in the ceremony of raising up a new chief and in the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving ceremonies. True wampum is scarce today and only wampum strings are used. Many belts have been lost or are in museums to this day.
How do you make wampum shine?
To bring your piece back to its true shine, you can either wash it gently with a mild dish soap or hand soap, or better yet, use a sterling silver polishing cloth. Aside from keeping the shine, we also encourage you to treat your Wampum as the artwork it truly is.
Where can I find wampum shells?
Where are wampum shells found?
How do you polish wampum?
How are wampum beads made?
How are Wampum Beads Made? Making wampum beads was difficult and took a lot of skill. The shell was first broken into small blocks. A stone or reed drill was used to create a hole in the block. The block would be drilled half way through and then turned over to drill through the other side.
What is wampum and is it worth anything?
These days wampum generally refers to the purple part of the quahog shell regardless of the shape. The value of crafted wampum is in the difficulty involved in procuring the right shells and the hours of intensive work required to shape and refine them.
When was wampum first used as a currency?
With changes in colonial economy as well as the coastal environment, in the late 17th century wampum was devalued, and eventually dropped as an official currency. Its use, however, persisted into the 18th century and there are descriptions of beads being used to purchase rides on the ferry or turning up in the collection plate at church.
Where do wampum belts come from?
However, the methods and techniques used in making large wampum belts probably developed from the ancient Native American traditions of finger-weaving. Some of the earliest post-European contact wampum belts were worn as collars around the neck.