Wampum was employed most in New England, but it was common elsewhere.
Wampum was of two colours, dark purple and white, of cylindrical form, averaging a quarter of an inch in length, and about half that in diameter.
A strand of wampum, consisting of purple and white shell-beads or a belt woven with figures formed by beads of different colours, operated on the principle of associating a particular fact with a particular string or figure, thus giving a serial arrangement to the facts as well as fidelity to the memory.
The term wampum or wampum-peage was apparently applied to the beads only when strung or woven together.
Dark wampum, which was made from a "hard shell" clam (Venus mercenaria), popularly called quahang or quahog, a corruption of the Indian name, was the most valuable.