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Abalone shell and glass necklace

 

Length: 32.000 cm
Height: 6.000 cm

Christy Collection

AOA 2004

Room 26: North America

    Abalone shell and glass necklace

    Costanoan, 19th century AD
    From California, North America

    The necklace is composed of fourteen plaques of abalone shell attached to two rows of opaque white blown (?) glass beads - substitutes for shell beads. The plaques would have been made using a stone, saw-like tool, and the rough exterior ground away.

    Discs and quadrangular plaques of red abalone were widely used for necklaces, and for pectorals, worn by people of high status in ceremonials. Like other shell ornaments, they were traded widely into the interior of California, and were considered both currency and stores of wealth.

    J.C.H. King, First peoples, first contacts: (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)

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    On display: Room 26: North America

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