This heavy four-strand hair pipe bead choker is gorgeous, the tubular hair pipe beads made of bone and set in six sections, each bead in each section with an old brass bead on either end. Hair Pipes were first seen in chokers in an 1834 painted portrait of Dohasan, the first chief of the Kiowa. He wore a close-fitting four-strand choker. Those early hair pipe beads were made of shell, and in about the 1880s, as demand for hair pipe breast plates in particular was increasing, the Plains Indians began obtaining bone hair pipe beads, which were less fragile than those made of shell. The bone hair pipe beads came via a trader named Joseph H. Sherburne, who got the idea to manufacture the beads from bone based on the fact that corncob pipe stems were made of bone. It was S. A. Frost, a New York company, that first manufactured the bone hair pipe beads for Mr. Sherburne. Bone hair pipe beads are made from the lower leg bone of cattle. Bone hair pipe necklaces were worn by both men and women. The earliest bone hair pipe necklaces were simple, consisting of a few strands of vertical pipes, but after 1895 the designs became more elaborate, with a greater number of pipes and sections connected. Bone hair pipe availability dwindled in latter part of the 1920s, and Frost's large inventory of bone hair pipes was sold in the 1940s and continued to be in circulation for some decades after. This particular bone hair pipe necklace was strung circa 1960s, and while the bone hair pipe beads are authentic and likely circa 1930s to 1940s, they may have been tea-stained to look even older. There are 24 hair pipe beads in the choker, the ones closest to the center being longer than the two sections on either side of the center sections. The center pendant is a round abalone concho bead, with two more shorter hair pipe beads danging off. And there are 47 total brass beads, which are early 20th Century. The necklace is strung on leather, with extra long straps that would be tied off at the back and left to hang. Given the length of the piece, it was likely made for a man. It is likely Native made, although possibly for a shop catering to non-Natives, at the height of the fascination with Native culture, especially as it was embraced by hippies and counterculture. Today one can purchase hair pipe choker kits, although it's less common to find vintage bone hair pipe chokers.
The necklace measures a little over 34" from end to end, including the extra long leather straps. The portion that is decorative--in other words, measure from the ends where the four strands are tied off and before the leather straps start--measures 13-1/4". The four strands, measured vertically, are 1-1/4" tall. The center concho abalone bead is just over 1" in diameter. The longest hair pipe beads, of which there are eight, are just under 2" long and the shorter ones, of which there are 16, are 1-1/2" long. The two smallest hair pipe beads dangling from the concho are about 1" long. The leather shows minimal use. Some of the beads may have a rough spot along an edge but overall the necklace is in good vintage condition.
For someone who appreciates the old ways.
Please convo with questions, or call (505) 369-6865. Will return your call as soon as possible.
For Native and Native Inspired Necklaces, Pendants, and Pins: http://bit.ly/2ESs4Tf
Native American Earrings: http://bit.ly/2FyZ8wy
Native American Rings: http://bit.ly/2HQXwyY
Native Bracelets and Watches: https://bit.ly/2NpeypL
Native Belts and Bolos: http://bit.ly/2oz2XKp
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We get correspondance almost daily asking how much certain items are worth or what the price was of items that have sold, and we can no longer respond to these messages.