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Honoring Native Tradition

Allen Hazard of The Purple Shell creates stunning pieces is the traditional style of the Narragansetts

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Of all the colors found in nature, it’s the beautiful purple hues of the New England quahog shell that Allen Hazard enjoys most. The Purple Shell is a fitting name for his Charlestown shop, where you can find his Wampum jewelry and designs made in the traditional style of the Narragansett Nation. His Wampum, or Wampumpeg, pieces are inspired by his Narragansett heritage and the generations of family members who have passed down this art form. Using various parts of the shell, he creates tubular Wampum beads, Wampum belts and assorted pieces of jewelry including necklaces, bracelets and earrings. The darker the shell’s purple hue, the more desirable.

Allen’s passion for this style of jewelry making began by watching his mother, aunts and uncles create traditional pieces, reproducing what the people of the Narragansett Nation wore years before the settlers landed on their shores. The beauty of the wampum shell has been amazing Allen for years now. Creating pieces “as the Narragansetts before me did,” he says, “is very special and something that I will never take lightly.” Allen’s work is available at The Purple Shell in Charlestown.