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Soapstone Pendants

gorget: stone used in pendants
Gorget Approximately 300-1000 years old

Creative Workshop: Soapstone Pendant Making

Soapstone pendant making is a creative workshop offered at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology to compliment the understanding and appreciation for First Nation gorgets.

Gorgets are typically made from hard slate stone and are drilled to make into a necklace and personal ornamentation. They were made during leisure time as the slate takes a large amount of time and skill to shape (with an abrader/flat rock) and hand drill. Some even featured symbols and other markings.

During this 30 minute workshop, we have modified the tools but kept the traditional method the same. Instead of slate, students are each given a piece of soapstone, a soft rock which is easy to mould. Similar to the traditional method of creating a hole in the gorget, students can hand drill their own hole through their gorget by using an arrowhead attached to a wooden stick.

Illustration of a drill used in soapstone pendant making
Students drilling at soapstone pendant making workshop

Once a hole has been made, students sand the soapstone to a desired shape and smoothness and rub their piece with oil to allow for the soapstone colour to shine.

In the end of the workshop, students not only leave with their original gorgets, but also an understanding of First Nation skill development, creativity and resourcefulness.

Student at soapstone pendant making workshop

Comments

Mistey
Reply

Hello, I have a question that know one seems to be able to answer for me, i am doing some history on a Two Hole RATTLE SNAKE gorget made from soap stone. I can not find any kind of information on this. Other then peoples hear say. I was wondering if you have ever heard of it your self and if you may please know how much its worth? I AM NOT trying to sell anything I am simply just trying to find some information. Thanks Mistey

Nicole Aszalos
Reply

Hi Mistey,
Thank you for the comment. If you wouldn’t mind sending a couple pictures of the object and how it was acquired to info@archaeologymuseum.ca, we will see what we can do to help.
Thank you.

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