Bone Beads

Find bone beads to make your own Native American jewelry.

Bone Beads

Beads are a decorative item that is threaded and used to create jewelry and other items.  Decorating clothing and other items is a practice that is very old. One of the first type of beads that were made were bone beads. These beads are made from actual bones which are shaped and threaded to use in decorating.

One of the reasons bone beads were popular was because people could not go to the grocery store and by a steak.  Instead, they had to hunt an animal, butcher the animal, clean it, and cook it. During this process there were a lot of by-products. During this time, people were not as wasteful as we are now. At that time, we used every part that we could find a use for and bone beads were on of these items.

Primitive tools were not able to do as much as the tools we have now. However, bone was soft enough that primitive tools could be used to shape the bones into various shapes and figures. This is also what led to the development of bone beads. At this time, bone was already being used to carve statues and other creations.

Some animals had bones that seemed just right for bone beads. Chicken bones were already hollow and did not need to be pierced like other beads. These could be strung with little or no alterations. Snake bones were also popularly used for bone beads.

Bone beads were often important in decorations because they had symbolic meanings. Most items at this time were related to rituals, spirits, and gods. Bone beads also played a part in these rituals and were used for signal specific things. Certain members of a tribe may have worn certain bone beads or may have had a certain number of bone beads.

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