Possible Native Button/Pendant?

Beep-a-Cheep

Tenderfoot
Feb 20, 2019
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Hello Everyone!

I was able to do some hunting in North Dakota as the weather is finally warming up, and I came across this interesting little piece. It was in an area also strewn with chips, pottery shards, and other pieces of clam shell. It definitely seemed out of place and I was wondering if you think it could be native, settler, or if it is only natural erosion that caused a button-like appearance? I am curious to hear your thoughts.

I came across some similar items at the Bismarck Heritage Museum, and have included a (sorry, blurry!) photograph for comparison.

Thanks for any thoughts!
 

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Upvote 7

Older The Better

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Apr 24, 2017
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Looks like might be mother of pearl, I have a native made breast plate with big mother of pear discs, I think it came from a reservation in the early 1900’s so may not be fully accurate but if it was a faithful recreation then yours could be something along those lines
D45EBB4E-E8EA-4546-85E9-1862BAE1456C.jpeg
 
Last edited:

joshuaream

Silver Member
Jun 25, 2009
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It looks like a bead. Normally they are a bit chalkier (like the other picture), but many of the native clams and mussels they would have used have that mother of pearl layer on the inside.

It does turn dull after several years in the ground, but preservation can vary and I've found plenty beads where it still has that pearlescent luster. I have a few from a Mandan site that also still retain it. Probably 1800's and tail end of village life vs 1600's.
 
OP
Beep-a-Cheep

Beep-a-Cheep

Tenderfoot
Feb 20, 2019
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Looks like might be mother of pearl, I have a native made breast plate with big mother of pear discs, I think it came from a reservation in the early 1900’s so may not be fully accurate but if it was a faithful recreation then yours could be something along those lines View attachment 2026094
Interesting! Mine is much smaller but possibly along the same lines as far as being used for some ornamental purpose? Thanks for sharing
 

Older The Better

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Apr 24, 2017
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south east kansas
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Interesting! Mine is much smaller but possibly along the same lines as far as being used for some ornamental purpose? Thanks for sharing
Yes! not arguing about it being a bead I was more focusing on the use of mother of pearl for personal adornment, shell bead seems like a great explanation to me… there’s lots of people on this site that know quite a bit I’d value their opinions.
 
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Beep-a-Cheep

Beep-a-Cheep

Tenderfoot
Feb 20, 2019
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  • #8
It looks like a bead. Normally they are a bit chalkier (like the other picture), but many of the native clams and mussels they would have used have that mother of pearl layer on the inside.

It does turn dull after several years in the ground, but preservation can vary and I've found plenty beads where it still has that pearlescent luster. I have a few from a Mandan site that also still retain it. Probably 1800's and tail end of village life vs 1600's.
Wow that's awesome! Thanks for the information.
 

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