About this object

History of use

Silver ornaments represent an important part of early exchange between Europeans,including fur traders, and First Nations peoples, especially in eastern and central Canada and the U.S.A. Initially, the main source of silver was British, French and Spanish coins. Most ornaments were produced by silversmiths of European origin in North America and Europe, and were actively traded only from 1760 to 1821. By the mid-18th century silver objects were produced in New England, Quebec and Montreal. Silver was used by First Nations peoples as a sign of rank. Silver ornaments in these styles continue to be produced by native silversmiths in central Canada and the U.S.A.

Cultural context

trade; personal decoration; status

Specific techniques

Repousse is a type of ornamentation formed in relief in metal by hammering up from the reverse or inner side.

Physical description

Oval pendant with four circular protuberances at outer corners, and four heart cutouts. Floral engraving in protruding corners. Small hole at top. Raised figure of turtle in centre with zigzag engraving to mark shell. Protruding eyes. One maker’s mark on turtle’s back and another at left side.