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.

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More information


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


Length: 32.000 cm
Height: 6.000 cm

Museum number

AOA 2004


Christy Collection


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