Dentalium Shells (Bulk - Avg Length 3/4"-1 1/4")2525-009-026
Dentalium Shells (Bulk - Avg Length 3/4"-1 1/4")
(Bulk - Oz Pkg)
Product No. 2525-009-026
1 ounce bags - Approximately 200/ounce
Average Length 3/4" to 1-1/4"
Nuu-chah-nulth peoples (also referred to as the Nootka) were early primary harvesters of dentalium shells. Among the Northwest Coastal tribes, the shells were valued for both trade and adornment. Athabaskan peoples of Alaska and subarctic Canada crafted dentalium into jewelry with glass beads. Along with iron, these items were regarded as prestigious trade goods in the 19th century.
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.