The Fiji Museum - Virtual Museum

Personal Adornment

Personal ornaments included woven and trochus shell armbands, braided bicep and calf ties which were often strung with white shell or glass trade beads, and a wide selection of necklaces made of shell, bone or teeth. Men wore circular boar-tusk pendants, while chiefly ornaments ranged from the common red oyster shell pendants, through to rare golden cowry pendants, pearl-shell breastplates, the vorovoro composed of small white egg-cowries from Vava'u, to an array of breast and throat ornaments carved from Sperm Whale teeth. The production of whale tooth ornaments was greatly expanded in the 1800s due to the introduction of metal tools and a surge in the supply of Sperm Whale teeth from Yankee and English whalers and traders.