Shell jewelry made in New Brunswick

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Wampum of experts

It's amazing what shell jewelry you can wear in New Brunswick power. We love to get a behind the scenes look at local life on our tours, and our favorite way to do this is to meet people and see how they live. It is not always easy, because such experiences often only arise through contacts on site. While touring around New Brunswick, we were fortunate enough to be able to look over the shoulders of Marcia Poirier at work during a visit to her craft workshop, Wild about Wampum. I was even able to lend a hand and see what she does for a living. And that's extraordinary: Marcia provides Wampum. that's shell jewelry, come on.


Wampum or shell jewelry
Shell jewelry is just a product that can be made from shells


shell jewellery

You are sure to ask yourself what is Wampum? Well, even the Wampanoag Indians on the east coast of North America made wampum. On the one hand, it served as jewelry, on the other hand, it documented historical events, treaties between Native American tribes and even peace treaties between Native Americans and Europeans. Wampum is made from seashells. There are wampum belts and shell bracelets that are famous across North America for symbolizing peace agreements of historical importance. But wampum can also be seashell jewelry, and that's what Marcia and her husband Dave make in New Brunswick. They make figurines out of shells, which are used as pendants, brooches, or other jewelry.


Marcia Poirier works Quahogs to Wampum
Marcia Poirier works quahogs into wampum, jewelry made from shells


Self-taught craft

“How did you come up with the idea of ​​making jewelery out of shells?” I want to know from Marcia. She laughs and says: “It happened more or less by accident. As I often do, I went for a walk on the beach and collected shells, the big, round ones – the quahogs, as we call them. It struck me how beautiful their color is when the outer layers are scraped off. That gave me no peace. So when I got home I started removing those outer layers.” Dave interrupts, “It took us two years to find the right tools to work the clam shells. They are so hard that today we only use diamond cutters for them. Anything else is too weak.”


These shells are waiting to be processed
These shells are waiting for their processing

Where do the shells come from?

I ask her where she got the mountains of shells that are waiting in her workshop to be made into shell jewelry. “I get these from local fishermen. They charge a high price for it because they are actually much too big to sell. Quahogs are harvested much smaller for consumption. Only then are they considered tasty, even though that's nonsense. But that's the way it is. They can only sell them to me in that size, and they charge a higher price for it.” She also recounts how she was initially laughed at by the Indians in her neighborhood when her failed attempts came to nothing. However, over time she earned their friendship and respect and is now well respected for maintaining her ancient craftsmanship. Shell jewelry as a link between cultures.


The colored "inner life" of the shells - the raw material for shell jewellery
The colored "inner life" of the shells


Making shell jewelry is a dusty business

Marcia leads us into her workshop and puts on her face mask. "It has to be, because the dust generated during the polishing process is so fine that it settles in the lungs." The lively, little Acadian looks like a construction worker in her work clothes in front of the dusty grinding wheel on which she works one of the shells before polished. She sands off the outermost layers quickly and with practiced movements. Then she cuts out a heart-shaped piece and holds it out to me: "Now it's your turn. Now you're going to make shell jewelry out of it." I swallow, and soon I look exactly like her – with a face mask and apron: "You have to wear them, otherwise you won't be able to get the fine dust out of your clothes."


Marcia shows me how to make seashell jewelry
Marcia shows me how to work shells


This is how shell jewelry is made in New Brunswick

Marcia shows me how to work on the piece of shell and gives me finer and finer grinding wheels, and indeed: an inconspicuous shell, which I would never have expected to have such intense colors on the beach, becomes a shiny shell jewelry that feels wonderful under the fingers . When I wear the necklace around my neck today, its shape tempts me to touch it and stroke it again and again. A nice feeling when you have made such a souvenir yourself. For me, it's definitely one of the most beautiful souvenirs I've brought home in a long time. Thank you Marcia for this great opportunity to look over your shoulder at work!

And if you want to experience it yourself:

Wild about Wampum
845 Mountain Rd
Moncton Moncton, New Brunswick
nouveau brunswick,
Canada E1C 2R9

Incidentally, shells and shell jewelry do not only play a role in New Brunswick. on Sanibel Island in Florida It's all about the shells too. Or take a look Prince Edward Island, From there come particularly delicious tasting mussels.

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Source for shell jewelry to make in New Brunswick: local research. Thank you to Tourism New Brunswick for inviting us to this trip. However, our opinion remains our own.

Text shell jewelry from New Brunswick: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline


Shell jewelry made in New Brunswick

Monika Fuchs

Monika Fuchs and Petar Fuchs are the authors and publishers of the Slow Travel and Enjoyment travel blog TravelWorldOnline Traveller. You have been publishing this blog since 2005. TravelWorldOnline has been online since 2001. Your topics are Trips to Savor and wine tourism worldwide and Slow Travel. During her studies, Monika Fuchs spent some time in North America, where she traveled to the USA and Canada - sometimes together with Petar Fuchs - and spent a research year in British Columbia. This strengthened her thirst for knowledge, which she pursued for 6 years Adventure Guide for Rotel Tours and then for 11 years as Study tour guide for Studiosus Reisen tried to breastfeed all over the world. She constantly expanded her travel regions, but curiosity still gnawed at her: “What is beyond the horizon? What else is there to discover in this city? Which people are interesting here? What do you eat in this region?” These are the questions she is now trying to answer as a freelance travel journalist (her articles have appeared in DIE ZEIT, 360° Canada, 360° USA, etc.), among others. travel writer and travel blogger answers in many countries around the world. Petar Fuchs produces the videos on this blog as well as on YouTube. Monika Fuchs from TravelWorldOnline is below Germany's top 50 bloggers in 2021 Other Information about Monika and Petar Fuchs. Recommendations on LinkedIn from tourism experts Further recommendations from cooperation partners and tourism experts Professional experience Monika on LinkedIn