Shells used for jewelry making


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ddr-densho-2-51 (Legacy UID: denshopd-p2-00051)

Bain Collection

Japanese Americans at the Tule Lake concentration camp enjoyed making jewelry from shells, such as the ones shown here, which were found within the confines of the camp. These shells have not yet been bleached. Tule Lake was drained in the early 1900s. The camp was located on the old lake bed, where people found shells for making jewelry to sell to camp personnel. Shells were scarce, and digging became competitive. To beat the rush, some people got up at sunrise and dug waist-deep holes in order to find the shells. Some had homemade wire sieves for sifting the sand.

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Courtesy of the Bain Family Collection

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