Freeform Wampum Cabochons # 1
Freeform Wampum Cabochons # 1
Freeform Wampum Cabochons # 1

Freeform Wampum Cabochons # 1

Regular price $14.00 Sale

Ships from Massachusetts!

Made from local Quahog Shell along the beaches of Cape  Cod. They were ethically collected and no animals were killed for their shells.

Wampum is a traditional shell bead or Cabochon jewel of the Eastern Woodlands tribes of American Indians. It includes the white shell beads fashioned from the North Atlantic channeled whelk shell and the white and purple beads made from the quahog or Western North Atlantic hard-shelled clam. It was used by the northeastern Indian tribes as a form of gift exchange, and the colonists adopted it as currency in trading with them. Eventually, the colonists developed more efficient methods of producing wampum, which caused inflation and ultimately its obsolescence as currency.

Wampum was often kept on strings like Chinese cash. Before European contact, strings of wampum were used for storytelling, ceremonial gifts, and recording important treaties and historical events, such as the Two Row Wampum Treaty. According to the Onondaga Nation, the wampum is a living record and has many uses. These can include inviting a person to a meeting, showing title, and showing that a speaker is truthful. At the Treaty of Niagara in 1764, at least 84 wampum belts were exchanged.