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Shell Jewelry

Shells are used as both currency and jewelry in Papua New Guinea. The makers traditional tool is a simple bamboo knife with which he will divide the shells into parts for several objects.

Even wives may be purchased using money belts such as the one to the right. An extremely valuable item to the tribal Papuan, such a ‘bride price’ is fashioned from shells having traveled hundreds of miles on historical trade routes .
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Fig. 50:
Dogtooth Necklace,
Coastal Area,
26”

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Fig. 51:
Shell Necklace,
Middle Sepik,
29”
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Fig. 52:
Shell Necklace,
Highland Area,
48”
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Fig. 53:
Bride Price,
April River,
Upper Sepik,
32”
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Fig. 54:
Armband,
Murik Lake,
Tortoise shell, cane, 5”
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Photography: Marc Assayag
Website: Marc Assayag, Stephen Lazarus, Mary Lou Beauharnois and David Driver
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