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Necklace of beads, snakes and cross. 96 cylindrical red glass beads and 91 smaller round flat white beads alternate in a pattern. 4 double snake and 4 single snake pendants alternate between the beads on the lower half of the necklace. The double snakes cross over at two points. All snakes are attached to bead strand by rings through the mouth. They are etched with cross pattern along their length. A Lorraine cross with cloverleaf terminals hangs from the centre point. A sunburst is engraved in the centre of the top bar. Curvilinear marks on vertical and lower horizontal bar. Maker’s mark JA on snakes and AB in a circle on lower bar of cross.

History Of Use

Silver ornaments represent an important part of early exchange between Europeans, including fur traders, and First Nations peoples, especially in eastern and central Canada and the U.S.A. Initially, the main source of silver was British, French and Spanish coins. Most ornaments were produced by silversmiths of European origin in North America and Europe, and were actively traded only from 1760 to 1821. By the mid-18th century silver objects were produced in New England, Quebec and Montreal. Silver was used by First Nations peoples as a sign of rank. Silver ornaments in these styles continue to be produced by native silversmiths in central Canada and the U.S.A.

The cross was the oldest form of trade silver, introduced by French missionaries to North America for presentation to converts. Crosses were later used as trade silver with no religious connotations. They circulated well into the 19th century and were worn on the chest. The Lorraine cross has double bars.

Animal imagery is a significant part of Woodland First Nations tradition, but no documented instance has been found of the use of animal effigies in trade. The place of effigies in Woodlands culture is not known.

Specific Techniques

Repousse is a type of ornamentation formed in relief in metal by hammering up from the reverse or inner side.

Cultural Context

trade; personal decoration; status

Item History

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