Object
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Metal Ornaments

  • Metal Ornaments
  • Metal Ornaments
  • Metal Ornaments
  • Metal Ornaments

Pierced metal pendants, made to ornament women’s clothing, are a uniquely Seminole tradition. Artists made them from various metals including coins or even tin cans. Today some metalworkers are trying to revive the tradition.

Story

Metal Ornaments by Bill Marquardt

Coin necklaces were worn by Seminole women by the mid-19th century. These were usually dimes and quarters with little holes punched in their edges so they could be worn as a necklace or attached to clothing. In a sense they “wore their wealth.”

By the 1920s, Seminole artisans were heating coins in a fire, then hammering them flat to make a thin disc. Then they embossed the edges or made cutout designs. These particular pieces are called pierced silver pendants and they were made using a cold chisel technique. They made the cutouts in various geometric designs. These are made to look like stars. Some women wore them dangling from their hair; others attached them to their blouses and capes.

Bill Marquardt
Curator, South Florida Archaeology & Ethnography
Director, Randell Research Center
Florida Museum of Natural History

Summary

Metal Ornaments

Left: Made at Dania Reservation, Broward Co., Florida
Dates to ~1940–1942

Right: Made at Tommy Tigertail’s camp, South Florida
Dates to ~1930s

Exhibit Area

Objects Tell Stories

Theme

Seminoles in Florida

Metal OrnamentsRadha Krueger