Dentalium Shells

Peoples of the Northwest Pacific Coast traded dentalium shells into the Great Basin, Central Canada, Northern Plateau, Alaska, and the Great Plains for foods, decorative materials, dyes, hides, and many other items. Dentalium shells, having made their way eastward to the Plains Indians became popular and widely used to embellish women's capes and dress yokes, as well as men's and women's hair ornaments, necklaces and chokers (such as our Dentalium Choker Kit), and long, dangling earrings. Dentalium shells are still widely used for traditional regalia today, though their use in breast plates tapered off sometime around the 1880s as "cheaper" bone hairpipe became more available.