Breast Plate (Book Three, Card 3)

Hair pipes are long bead necklaces that are more than 1.5 inches long and are popular among American Indians, especially those from the Great Plains and Northwest Plateau. The hair-pipe breastplates worn by 19th-century Northern Frontier tribes were crafted from West Indian conch, which was shipped to New York docks as ballast and subsequently traded to upper Missouri River by Native Americans. Their popularity grew quickly after the Comanche invented them in 1854. They were too fragile and expensive to be used as armour, so they became a symbol of riches during the Plains Indians’ economic despair after the buffalo were nearly extinct. These breastplates are famous among Native American and wear in pow-wow (A traditional sacred gathering of tribes) every year.