Abalone shell and glass necklace


British Museum

British Museum

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.

Show lessRead more


  • Title: Abalone shell and glass necklace
  • Date Created: 1790/1860
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 32.00cm; Height: 6.00cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: beadwork
  • Registration number: Am.2004
  • Place: Found/Acquired California
  • Peoples: Made by Californian Peoples
  • Other information: Cultural rights may apply.
  • Material: abalone shell; glass; cotton
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Donated by Christy, Henry