Afiafi oiya, or interrupted shell currency necklace, is the native name for a necklace of strings of money shells broken up into distinct segments by spacers. This circa 1960 example is made of smooth, old beads,and the main white segments are enhanced with different coloured discs on either side of the spacers and at the ends. Its value is further enhanced by the cluster of fish teeth which embellish the central panel on both sides. It is worn loosely around the neck by men and women,
<>p>The value of traditional shell currency persists in the Solomon Islands, particularly in Malaita, where it is in great demand for the payment of traditional debts such as bride price and compensation, or as a status adornment to be worn on ceremonial occasions – after all, everyone else knows exactly what it is worth! (Value is determined by the scarcity of the components, such as fish teeth or red shell discs or beads, the difficulty of making the piece, the quality of the discs and the length and number of the strings).
Size: 84 cm / 33 inches, excluding ties.
Provenance: Ex Judith Woods Collection,. Judith lived in Vanuatu for more than 25 years and field collected frequently in the Solomons
Reference: Body Ornaments of Malaita, Solomon Islands, by Ben Burt, British Museum Press, 2009