What are heishi shell beads?

What are heishi shell beads?

Heishe or heishi (pronounced “hee shee”) are small disc- or tube-shaped beads made of organic shells or ground and polished stones. They come from the Kewa Pueblo people (formerly Santo Domingo Pueblo) of New Mexico, before the use of metals in jewelry by that people.

What do heishi beads look like?

Heishi beads and rondelle beads can look very similar in appearance when pictured side by side. Rondelles may appear a little more finished, slightly rounded and smoother in cut. They can sometimes be faceted. Heishi beads are always disc-shaped.

What are shell beads used for?

Shells have been used by artisans for 1000s of years all around the world to make jewelry and to decorate homes, palaces, and, sculptures.

What shells are used for jewelry?

There are several kinds of seashells that are most suited for shell jewelry. Even some of the sea creatures such as sand dollars, starfish, and seahorses are used in jewelry designs. Artists often choose conical, puka, bonnet, and other seashells when creating jewelry pieces.

What are turquoise heishi beads?

Two Strand Turquoise Heishi Necklace (NK4917) Heishi jewelry is believed to be the oldest form of jewelry making in New Mexico, and perhaps in all of North America. The word heishi means “shell,” although today the term is often used to reference small handmade beads made from many different natural materials.

What does the term heishi mean?

: a bead made usually by North American Indians of disk-shaped shells, turquoise, or coral or of silver tubes.

What are rondelle beads made of?

Often round, a bead has a hole drilled through it for stringing. A bead can be made from a variety of materials including, but not limited to: glass, plastic, metal, bone and stone. The beads to the left were made in Japan for the Coro Company.

What did Indians use mussel shells for?

Prehistoric American Indians ate the soft tissues and used the shells to make a variety of tools and ornaments. The historic Illinois Indians used mussel shells to scrape maize kernels from cobs during their July green-corn harvests.

Are there any seashells worth money?

Some shells are quite valuable, worth tens of thousands even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Arguably the rarest shell today is the Sphaerocypraea incomparabilis , a kind of snail with a dark shiny shell and an unusual boxy-oval shape and a row of fine teeth on one edge.

What shells have mother-of-pearl?

Mother-of-pearl is the iridescent inside lining of a mollusk shell. It is most commonly found in three types of mollusks—pearl oysters, freshwater mussels, and abalone.

Where do heishi beads come from?

But, its origins are rooted in Native American culture. More specifically, Heishi originated from Santo Domingo Pueblo peoples. It’s linked to a rich history as one of the oldest jewelry forms in New Mexico, and possibly also across the United States.