Heishe or heishi (pronounced "hee shee") are small discs or tubes shaped beads made of organic shells or grounded and polished stones. Its origins come from the Santo Domingo Pueblo Indians, New Mexico, before the use of metals in jewelry by that people. The name is the Pueblo Indian word for shell bead.
The oldest specimens of Heishe date back to around 6000 BCE, although the same technique was used in northern Africa 30,000 years ago, using ostrich eggshell.
Modern heishi beads are commonly mechanically mass produced; however, some artist still handmake beads. The beads are be hand-chipped, with holes drilled through their centres using pointed stones.