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Earrings up close

November 25, 2017

Here are some closeups of selected earrings, you may recognise them from yesterday’s post.

23517406_1724414390926822_1903134354932159136_nTwo earrings found separately but probably representing a matched set. Made from ivory with wooden plug insets. On the right side of the photo is a side view to illustrate how they were worn. The hook fits through the ear and a smaller ivory bead probably dangled from the small hole at the base.


A walrus ivory earring. If you look closely you can see a few specks of the original iron pyrites that once filled the circular grooves. The concentric circles symbolise a layered and sentient universe. The hook in back is missing and was repaired by using a bit of spruce root, still in place some 4 centuries later.

23622438_1724492547585673_6666042213418666850_nA very tiny ivory earring of the same design as the one above, but just a centimeter wide. Earrings this size may have been made for girls.


This earring is a bit different, carved in the form of a mask-like face. The multiple sockets were once filled with bright bits of iron pryrite. How the carver managed to make those tiny but exact concentric circles on the left eye is a mystery.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Marilyn F. permalink
    November 25, 2017 23:33

    I would love to see these earrings reproduced with actual iron pryrite in them. Is there anyone in the area that might attempt to do reproduce them? Certainly would not want to attempt reconstruction with these previous artifacts.

    • November 27, 2017 11:31

      Quinhagak carver John Smith have made several replicas of different earrings and pendants, and his grandson Mike have also done some. Not with pyrite insets so far, but maybe they will try it in the future šŸ™‚

  2. Marilyn F. permalink
    December 1, 2017 18:55

    Well, that is great to know. Thank you. They are carrying on a tradition. I can imagine they must feel a closeness to their ancestors as they work on the replicas.

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