A glossary of ethnic jewellery terms


Heishi (pronounced he-she) is jewelry made from disk-shaped beads of shell (or turquoise, lapis lazuli, and other stones). Each bead begins as a tiny flat piece of shell (or stone). A tiny stringing hole is drilled though the fragment. Many of these jagged pieces are strung together tightly on a wire and are then sanded into evenness using a fine-grained sandstone and then sandpaper. The result is a very smooth strand of disk-shaped beads. This is an ancient form of bead-making developed by the Pueblos of North America.


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