Wampum Quahog Clam Shell Jewelrygrade Purple Quahog Each Half Shell Rare since the days of Roger Williams 1- lot of 3 HALF SHELLS

by Aki Trading Post

The significance of wampum to seventeenth century Indians in New England
By Lois Scozzari, Graduate Student in American Studies, Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut
Originally Published in The Connecticut Review.


Jewelry-grade Purple Quahog Clam Shell Quahog Wampum
You will receive 1-lot of 3 Quahog Clam Shell Half's

Each Shell is Beautiful PURPLE and some WHITE Native Quahog Shell. The majority color is a Dark purple areas know as wampum.
Each Shell measures approx 2.5" - 4+" across.
They are Organically Cleaned
There are no two shells exactly alike.
The purple on these Shells is Absolutuly Amazing.
These Shells Measures 2.5"-4"+ inches across.
a perfect size for cutting out discs, buttons, and pendants.

Here's why:
Color: Like sapphires and rubies, the value is all about color. Some quahogs have no purple at all. Most shells have a little purple on the inside surface, but the color does not go much below the surface. A few quahogs have quite a bit of purple that goes deep into the shell, sometimes with nice banding. And a few very rare shells have intense purple that extends deep into the shell. These are the most desirable ones for making jewelry. The amount of color is partly due to genetics, and partly due to the minerals in the mud or sand where the quahog grows.

Why purple wampum was always worth more money: It takes thick shells to make wampum beads, and you can only use a narrow strip, where the shell is the thickest. (See box drawn on shell.) The rest of the shell is scrap. Even though that section can be solid purple on the top, the color may only be on the surface. As a result, most beads are a combination of purple and white. After the Europeans arrived with trade goods, the Indians used a steel needle mounted on a stick (rather than a sharp stone) to drill the length of a bead. This was an extremely time-consuming process, and they made strands of beads by the fathom (about six feet long).

The Story of Wampum

How wampum became America's first money is a complicated story and a part of American history

When Prince Philip of the Pokanokets (later known as the Wampanoags) proudly wore his wampum—decorative beads made from whelk and clam shells—he was proudly declaring several things about himself: his station, his value (and obligation) to his people, as well as the spiritual message conveyed by the design of those shells. The Englishmen he encountered, however, could only see the commercial value of that wampum, and 20 pounds sterling meant Philip was wearing some very pricey bling.

Wampum is made from the Quahog Clam Shell (Mercenaria Mercenaria), which lives in the coastal waters of Northeastern USA. Quahogs were used by the Native American Indians prior to the arrival of the colonizing Europeans for ornamentation, for use in marriage and in other ceremonies, and as a memory aid. Upon the arrival of the Dutch, English, and French, Wampum was made into tubular beads and served as one of the main sources of currency between the Native Americans and the newly arrived European traders and settlers. The beads were made into purple and white ones. The purple beads (suckauhock) were worth twice as much as the white beads (wompampeage) in the most popular use of them: the trading of beads for beaver pelts in New York State, Western Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.

Wampum jewelry made of sterling silver and authentic quahog Wampum.

Jewelry for your pleasure and to extend this part of American history to you.

Shipping information

Item will be shipped from United States

Destination Cost (USD) With Another Item (USD)
United States $15.00 $15.00

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