Beads fashioned from the stems of clay tobacco pipes have been found at a number of archaeological sites, principally in the Northeast. This practice appears to have begun in the early 17th century and continued until at least the beginning of the 19th century. Although stem fragments are ideally suited for stringing and have the appearance of tubular shell beads, beads fashioned from them are relatively scarce, possibly because researchers do not recognize them. To qualify as a bead, a pipe stem must exhibit clear evidence of intentional modification of the ends and/or show use wear at the extremities. Surface alteration not related to smoking is another indicator.
"Clay Pipe-Stem Beads in North America,"
Northeast Historical Archaeology:
45, Article 2.
Available at: https://orb.binghamton.edu/neha/vol45/iss1/2